Tag Archives: World Championship

Top Five Point Guards in Oklahoma City History

So, I was perusing through the internets and came across this article from Yahoo!Sports, http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ycn-10388361 . In the article, written by William Menna, it talks about the top 5 point guards in Oklahoma City Thunder history. Before even reading the article, I thought to myselft, “Wow, 3 years in, and we already have a Top 5 point guards in franchise history article. Let me see, Westbrook, Maynor, Watson, Ivey, and Ollie.” Kind of scraping the bottom of the barrell at the end of that list. But then I started reading the article and starting seeing names like Gary Payton, Lenny Wilkens, Gus Johnson, etc. It is then that I realized, “Crap, they are including the Seattle Sonics’s stats also.”

I’m one of those people that has a problem with the combining of Sonics and Thunder history. Its like going through an acrimonious divorce and having your new wife constantly bring up things about your old wife. You just don’t want to listen to it. Let it be known, though, that I have no problem with the emotions being felt by true Sonics fans. Those guys were left without a team and that part of the equation, in my opinion, is just wrong. Especially when its the little guys (a.k.a the fans) that suffer the most. In the 5 years that this team has been on OKC’s radar, I’ve felt every range of emotion towards Seattle and its fans. But, if this lockout has taught me anything, its that, in the grand scheme of things, we’re quite inconsequential. The other thing that it has made me realize is that missing basketball games sucks ass.

In reading this article, I realized the list of OKC Thunder point guards may be quite small, but the list of combined OKC Hornets and Thunder point guards can be enough to make a respectable Top 5 list. Yeah, you remember those OKC Hornets teams, right? The ones that played a combined 71 of 82 home games in the state of Oklahoma in 2 seasons spanning from November 2005 to April 2007. Here’s some pictures to remind you:

Using these 5 seasons of Oklahoma City basketball, here’s the list of the Top 5 point guards in OKC basketball history.

Disclaimer: Combo guards will also be included as point guards. They are just point guards that primarily score, anyways.

5. Speedy Claxton (OKC Hornets ’05-’06):

In his one season in Oklahoma City, Claxton provided good veteran leadership off the bench while mentoring the rookie Chris Paul. He averaged 12.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Though about 4 inches shorter than Chris Paul, he was sometimes inserted in the lineup as the shooting guard in small ball situations.

4. Eric Maynor (OKC Thunder ’09-’10 – present):

Maynor has been the guiding touch for the second unit off the bench in each of his seasons with the Thunder.  He is the antithesis to Russell Westbrook and provides a nice semblance of change when in the game. He has averaged 4.5 points and 3.1 assists in his 2 seasons with the Thunder and continues to improve and build upon his national acclaim as best back-up point guard in the game.

3. Bobby Jackson (OKC Hornets ’06-’07):

Brought in to replace Speedy Claxton, Bobby Jackson brought an instant spark off the bench as one of the premier combo guards in the league. Used primarily as a point guard, Jackson’s quickness helped the Hornets whether the storm of losing their best 3 players for the 1st quarter of the season to stay afloat for enough time to contend for a playoff spot until the final week of the season. His averages of 10.6 points and 2.5 assists don’t measure how valuable Jackson was for that team that season.

2. Russell Westbrook (OKC Thunder ’08-’09 – present):

One of the most dynamic players in the league, Westbrook (along with Derrick Rose and John Wall) is redefining what a point guard is in the league. This is what the game envisioned when it inserted the Hand Check rule before the ’04-’05 season. Someone that constantly puts pressure on the defense, while working his way into the lane. While still a work in progress, Westbrook has averaged 17.8 points, 7.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game in his career, increasing his points, assists, and steals averages every season.  In his young career, he has already made an All Star game, been named to 2nd team All-NBA, won a World Championship gold medal, and led a team to the Western Conference finals. Although he is still learning the nuances of the position, there is no doubt that if his career trajectory continues in a similar fashion, he may undoubtly wrestle the No. 1 spot from this guy…

1. Chris Paul (OKC Hornets ’05-’06 – ’06-’07)

The current gold standard for NBA point guards, Chris Paul started off his career as a member of Your Hometown Hornets, becoming Oklahoma City’s only Rookie of the Year recipient. While still in the traditional point guard mold, Chris Paul was the beginning in a breed of point guards that do most of their damage driving to the hole and breaking the defense down while in the paint. Owning, probably, the best court vision in the league, Paul has led the league in assists twice and averaged close to double figures for his career. In it, he has averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists, 4.6 boards, and 2.4 steals in 6 seasons. He is the only player in league history to lead the league in assists and steals in the same season for 2 consecutive seasons. That’s John Stockton territory right there. He’s been named to 4 All Star games, 1 All-NBA team, 1 All-Defensive First team, has won 1 Olympic gold medal, and has been to 1 Western Conference Championship. Although injuries derailed Paul the last few seasons, he seems to be getting over that and getting back to his elite form.

The only negative part to most “Top 5 Whatevers Within the same Franchise” is that you’ll probaby never see any of the players on the list play against each other. You’ll never get to see Rajon Rondo vs. Bob Cousy. Or Yao Ming vs. Hakeem Olajuwon. But the great thing about this list is that you will hopefully see Westbrook and Paul duke it out for the better part of their primes for the next decade. And the only reason they’ll be duking it out, is for OKC point guard supremacy, right?

WHO DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?

I am of the opinion that everyone should stick to what they know. Everybody has an expertise in something, not an expertise in everything. There are very few Renaissance men left. So when someone tries to venture into other arenas, this can rub people the wrong way. They will react one of two ways. They will either enjoy when you fail with the backdrop that they already knew you were going to fail. Or they will be completely surprised by the gall of someone trying to succeed at more than one thing……and actually doing it.   

Which, of course, leads us to Kevin Durant. We thought last season was the summer of Durant. He started it by almost leading the upstart Thunder to a 7th game against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in an extremely competitive 1st round series. Then he became the poster boy for the Anti-Lebron campaign, after quietly signing his extension with no pomp and circumstances other than a heartfelt tweet. He even signed an extension with no strings attached (fully guaranteed with no player options for the entire length of the contract). Then he made guest appearances at the NBA draft and at the Orlando Summer League to represent the Thunder and show how much of a great teammate he is (and, of course, to reiterate that he is the Anti-Lebron). Then, to top it off, he led Team USA to its first World Championship gold in 16 years with the “B-team”. He did so much that you could have had this guy working the drive thru line of his offseason.   

 Lead an overachieving team…

 And then????

 Represent the team at the draft…

 And then????

 Quietly sign a max extension….

 You get the picture.

 Now, most mortals would be satisfied with that type of offseason. But, oh no! Not Durantula. Apparently last offseason was just the appetizer. Something to whet our collective palates. With an offseason with little to no activity because of the lockout, what is an NBA player to do to stay on the conscious of the masses??? You could…

A)    Win your first championship (hello, Dirk).

B)     Lose your second championship in Houdini-like fashion (hello, Lebron)

C)    Make threatening statements that you are taking your talents outside of theUS(hello, ½ of the league).

D)    Become basketball’s version of a gypsy and preach the hoops gospel at every stop.

 Well, @KDTrey5 decided to choose D. After leading the Thunder to the Western Conference finals and starting a fashion revolution (I have my backpack on right now as we speak), No. 35 decided he was going to rest up a little bit and see the world (on Nike’s dime, of course). So he visited China, did a couple basketball camps, saw the Great Wall, took some pictures (1, 2, 3), and gained about 1 billion fans. After that, with no summer league basketball on the horizon, he decided to become a one man streetball show. He literally became an overnight street legend. The street tour he did in NYC (66 in Rucker Park, shutting down a shit-talker the next day with 44 and a game winner, and averaging about 50 ppg for the weekend). Wrecking up the Goodman League in D.C. Then leading the Goodman League past the Drew League in what I’m hoping will be a yearly summer classic.

To add to the streetball legend status, he further solidified his street cred with this picture  

That would usually be a good summer for most, but then he decided to pick up, of all things, cycling. Cycling? Really? Who the hell still rides a bike? When was the last time you rode a bike? You know who rides bikes….middle-aged white men who are ultra-competitive and need to get in 35-40 miles per week. There you go….another market KD has cornered.

 And now I hear that KD is going to star in a movie. A movie? I mean, I know he has an affable personality, but I never once thought he was thespian material. But, guess what else he does if he goes through with the project in OKC? He brings in more economy to OKC. If they film this movie in OKC, they’ll need hotel space for the crew, work permits for the sets, and food for all the employees. In a time where business might dip a little if the lockout cuts into the NBA season, KD could possibly serve as a small economical conduit to bridge the time between lockout and NBA season for some OKC businesses.

 If anyone can pull it off and be successful, I’m betting my money on KD. While some people may ask, “Who does this guy think he is?”, I, in turn, ask of you, “What have you done this summer?” And this is nothing compared to what KD is planning for next offseason. Curing cancer and world hunger in the same week, anyone?