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The Mount Rushmore Of Every NBA Franchise: Thunder & Sonics

 

Oklahoma City Thunder/ Seattle SuperSonics

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This hits home personally since I am from Seattle. The Seattle Sonics left for Oklahoma City, even though the Seattle franchise had won a NBA Finals in 1979 and were a staple in the city.However, with the move to Oklahoma City it left the Seattle with no NBA team and a sour taste in our mouth. This was an impressive group for this Mount Rushmore with 2 MVPs, a defensive player of the year, and one of the most exciting players in a generation.

Gary Payton

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Gary Payton was a force of nature for the then Seattle Supersonics, one of the best backcourt defenders in NBA history. Payton won the 1995-96 Defensive Player of the Year Award and made nine All-Defensive teams in his 13 seasons in Seattle.

He was a potent offensive player too, averaging 18.2 points and 7.4 assists per game during his time with the team as well. Payton is still the organization’s all-time leader in games, minutes, points, assists, and steals.

Gary Payton was a nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time All-Defensive First Team member. He redefined the guard position with his defense, one of the few at his position to take over games on the defensive side from the backcourt.

 

Shawn Kemp

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The Reign Man was electric and embodied the spirit of Seattle. Shawn Kemp was a dominant force and him alongside of Gary Payton led the Sonics to an NBA Finals appearance where they eventually lost to the Chicago Bulls.

But the city fell in love with Kemp and fell in love with the Sonics. Kemp was later traded to Cleveland where he battled weight issues for years before fizziling out the NBA.

However, he was one of the greatest Sonics of all time.

 

Kevin Durant

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What Durant accomplished in his nine seasons with the organization is amazing. Durant won both Rookie of the Year and an MVP Award with the franchise, making seven All-Star games and leading the league in scoring four different times.

He also led the team to the 2012 NBA Finals, their first Finals appearance since the 1995-96 Sonics team that lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. 

Kevin Durant then left the franchise to join one of their rivals The Golden State Warriors which left a bad taste in the mouth of Thunder fans everywhere.

Russell Westbrook

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Russell Westbrook spent a good chunk of his career in the shadow of Durant, but he’s stepped out of that in an amazing way.

Westbrook is already third in the franchise’s all-time scoring list, second in assists and, incredibly, sixth in rebounds. In addition, his MVP campaign in 2016-17 — averaging a triple-double for the entire season and setting the single-season mark for triple-doubles — stands as one of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history.

Not only did he average a triple double he then went on to average a triple double the following season as well.

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