Running The Point

Top 5 Point Guards in Oklahoma City Thunder History

Running The Point - Top Five Point Guards

Over the course of the next week or so, I will be revealing my list of the top five players at each position to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder in its young, successful eight-year history. These rankings do not consider Seattle SuperSonics’ seasons or players. Rankings will be based off both statistical and overall impact on and off the court. The goal of this series is to not only remember those forgotten contributing players, but to also look ahead at what the future holds for each respective position.

Career Numbers w/ Thunder

Reg. Games Playoff Games PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% MPG PER
68 0 6.6 2.7 5.8 .384 .235 .755 26.1 9.5

Breakdown:
Earl Watson, currently the Interim Head Coach for the Phoenix Suns, was the Thunder’s inaugural starting point guard, and at that point in his career, he was essentially a poor man’s Rajon Rondo. On the bright side, he did provide at least some veteran leadership to a team that went 3-29 in their first 32 games, and he undoubtedly aided Russell Westbrook’s growth throughout his rookie season.

Best Season:
Played only one season with the Thunder.

Best Moment:
This. Definitely this. (Even though it’s probably more of Russell Westbrook’s play than it is Earl Watson’s)


Career Numbers w/ Thunder

Reg. Games Playoff Games PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% MPG PER
183 23 4.0 1.3 2.8 .396 .364 .740 14.4 10.9

Breakdown:
Oh, the lovable Eric Maynor. A lot of folks were baffled when the Thunder opted to trade Maynor and therefore roll with Reggie Jackson as the team’s backup point guard. It turned out to clearly be the right decision, but Maynor always had the “fan-favorite” thing going for him. He was a master of half-court shots and the perfect change of pace from Russell Westbrook. He had an instinctual ability to control the pace of a game. That damn ACL tear.

Best Season:
The 2009-10 season. Maynor’s stats weren’t eye-popping, with averages of 4.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg, and 3.4 apg, but he helped the young Thunder seize their first playoff appearance, where they battled the Lakers to 6 games before just falling short to the eventual champion.

Best Moment:
I mentioned Maynor’s knack for knocking down half-courters. Well, here’s the evidence. Nothin’ but net.


Career Numbers w/ Thunder

Reg. Games Playoff Games PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% MPG PER
125 50 5.0 1.4 1.3 .372 .371 .820 17.4 8.8

Breakdown:
You know you have a young franchise when the old man Derek Fisher ranks as your third-best point guard ever. Fisher was initially signed to OKC as a veteran leader off-the-bench; a guy that had “been there, done that," boasting five championships. He had his ups and downs, no doubt about it. There’s no denying his ability to hit a big shot when it was desperately needed, just as there’s no denying Scott Brooks playing him about 15 minutes too many per game. But it wasn’t just big shots for D-Fish; he was a bulldog on the defensive end. For what he lacked in size, he made up for in strength (specifically in the bicep regions). Whether it’s coaching, playing, front office, or you-name-it, would anybody be that surprised if he someday ended up with the Thunder franchise?

Best Season:
I’d say the 2012-13, mainly because of his impact in the Playoffs. If you don’t remember, although I’m quite certain you do, that was the year of the Patrick Beverly Incident. Fisher stepped up in Westbrook’s absence with 8.7 ppg on 45.7% FG, including 2.2 three-pointers per game on an efficient 45.7%.

Best Moment:
Fisher scored 13 points, including four 3-pointers, in the 2nd quarter of Game 2 of the Conference Semifinals vs. the Grizzlies.


Career Numbers w/ Thunder

Reg. Games Playoff Games PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% MPG PER
245 30 9.0 3.0 3.0 .431 .288 .872 21.1 14.6

Breakdown:
It’s a shame that the Reggie Jackson era ended on such a low note, because his career with the Thunder was a unique and exciting one. The numbers listed above not only fail to justify his impact, they also fail to portray just how steep of a progression this guy had. He started as a late first-round pick, struggled to get any court-time in his rookie season, and eventually became the Thunder’s sixth man in only his third season. His progression was especially apparent throughout Durant’s MVP 2013-14 season, where Westbrook played just 46 games due to knee surgeries. He held down that starting point guard role just fine, and in hindsight, that’s probably when it was evident that this guy was gone at the first opportunity. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

Best Season:
Definitely the 2013-14 season, where he filled in for Russ throughout the three surgeries and recorded an admirable statline of 13.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and 4.1 apg on 44% FG. I especially remember him dubbing Durant as “the baddest man on the planet” on multiple occasions. That was fun.

Best Moment:
This one’s easy. Thunder were down 2-1 to the Grizzlies in the first round of the 2014 Playoffs, and with Game 4 in Memphis, OKC was on the verge of falling to a 3-1 deficit. KD and Russ stunk it up, combining for just 30 points on 11/45 shooting. Reggie Jackson completely saved the day, scoring 32 points (17 in 4th quarter and OT) and grabbing 9 rebounds, leading the Thunder to a 92-89 victory. The Thunder would go on to win the series in 7 before falling to the eventual champs, the Spurs, in the WCF.


Career Numbers w/ Thunder

Reg. Games Playoff Games PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% MPG PER
571 64 21.5 5.5 7.5 .435 .303 .819 34.1 22.8

Breakdown:
Who else? A bona fide top-5 NBA player today who’s been there since the beginning. What a treat for fans like us to have been lucky enough to watch this guy progress into the player he is today. On the heels of the 2008 NBA Draft, there were tons of questions about Russell Westbrook’s true position. Is he a point guard? Is he a shooting guard? I think we all know the answer to that now. He’s either revolutionizing the point guard position, or he’s a one-of-a-kind guy that’ll stick out like a sore thumb in the history books thanks to the gaudy statlines he puts up night after night. Hell, just recently he dropped 25 points, 11 rebounds and 19 assists on one of the best teams in the league! What more can you say about the man? He’ll forever come to mind when anyone merely utters the words “Oklahoma City Thunder.” Keep doin’ what you do, Russ. We all love you for it.

Best Season:
It has to be this season, right? As far as shooting the basketball, he’s having the most efficient season of his career at a solid 46%. Then there’s the other numbers: 24 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 10.4 apg, and 2.1 spg. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Those are numbers we haven’t seen since Oscar Robertson’s 1965-66 season.

Best Moment:
There’s no right answer here, so I’m just going to pick one. November 29, 2013, Thunder down 2 to the Warriors, who had beat them just a few weeks prior on an Iguodala game-winner. You know the rest.


The Future of the Position

As far as the point guard position goes, Russell Westbrook remains the Thunder’s priority. We know that the Thunder will for sure have Russell Westbrook for one more season, but Thunder fans will likely experience more free agency hoopla throughout said season being that its Westbrook’s last under contract. Ideally, the organization will re-sign Westbrook long-term and just keep doing what they’re doing. However, if Westbrook bolts, it’ll be then that the Thunder will have big decisions to make.

A lot of this depends on the decision of Kevin Durant. If Durant signs a one-year deal and lines up his free agency with Westbrook’s, it’s a crap-shoot. If Durant signs long-term but Westbrook signs elsewhere in 2017, OKC will have to weigh their options. Do they try to reel in a big-name free agent point guard, or do they stay in-house and attempt to rapidly develop Cameron Payne, a guy who seems poised to one day make his way onto this top five list. Thanks to Cameron Payne (or Sam Presti), no matter what decision Russell Westbrook makes, the Thunder should be just fine moving forward at the point guard position.

But seriously Russ, just stay.

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