The 5 Most Overrated Oklahoma City Thunder Players of All Time
I'm sure calling any members of the Oklahoma City Thunder will undoubtedly invoke the wrath of every Thunder fan from Stillwater to Norman. Regardless, I'm prepared to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.
Look, OKC fans, every team has overrated players. It's as much an inevitable fact of life as Lindsay Lohan's next arrest. You should be happy to know I'm including former Seattle Supersonics players into account as well, as this is a comprehensive overview of the franchise as a whole, so I have a bigger sample size to work with.
Before I begin, let me clarify in painstaking detail that overrated does NOT mean bad! Even someone as amazing as Kevin Durant could be overrated if the general consensus was he could beat the rest of the league by himself while simultaneously unearthing Jimmy Hoffa's body and curing cancer.
To me, overrated is being widely considered to be better or more valuable than you actually are. The following five players certainly fit that bill.
Did you know Shawn Kemp never averaged over 20 points per game in a season for the Sonics?
Did you know Kemp finished with a career field goal percentage under .500 despite posting multiple stellar shooting seasons with Seattle?
Yes, Shawn Kemp had his moments. In his heyday with running mate Gary Payton, Kemp was good for 18 and 10 every night. But it seems once his athleticism betrayed him, Kemp was left with no veteran savvy or other significant basketball skills to rely on.
Kemp had his moments, but when your most talked about career moment was this, what does that say about you? Should the duo of Peyton and Kemp really be uttered in the same breath as Jordan/Pippen or Stockton/Malone.
No, it shouldn't.
I love Serge Ibaka. I love everything about him. I love his story, I love the fact that a late first-round pick has developed into an integral part of a championship-caliber team and I love saying the name "Serge" on a regular basis.
That being said, I think Ibaka is overrated, at least in terms of his most recent contract extension.
Ibaka inked a 4 year, $48 million contract in August, an exorbitant amount for such a one-dimensional player.
Ibaka's game is all about defense, and he's great at that, due in large part to freakish athleticism. Oklahoma City was wise in keeping Ibaka around, but was a one-dimensional player really worth close-to-max money?
Yes, he certainly could've gotten that kind of coin elsewhere had he tested free agency, but that wouldn't change the fact that Ibaka is overrated by the standards of his production vs. his contract. Ibaka has never averaged double digits in points or rebounds for a season, though his career has been a brief one thus far.
As much as I enjoy watching Ibaka play and love his story, the fact remains he is overrated.
I know I'm going to get grief for this one, but I stand by it 100 percent.
Russell Westbrook is probably the best in the world at getting to the rim at will. He's shifty, he's lightning-quick, and he's absolutely fearless. If he made a concerted effort to become more of a pure point guard, he absolutely has the tools to be the best point guard in the league.
If only it weren't for that little problem of the space between his ears.
Westbrook seems to think he is the alpha dog and wants the ball in his hands in crunch time. That's not by default a bad quality, and would be no problem if he were on a team like Orlando or Charlotte. It just so happens Westbrook is teammates with one Kevin Durant, perhaps the best scorer in the league.
Westbrook's intensity and alpha-dog syndrome have caused issues for the Thunder in late games, when the ball has been in Durant's hands in clutch situations far less often than should be the case.
Because the majority of hoopheads seem to ignore Westbrook's deficiencies while praising his many breathtakingly great strengths, Westbrook falls into the overrated camp.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think centers should be good rebounders.
Kendrick Perkins averaged a paltry 6.6 rebounds per game last season for Oklahoma City, a less-than-awe-inspiring number, especially for a starting center.
Combine Perkins' mediocre rebounding rate with his nearly nonexistent offensive production and wretched free-throw shooting, and you have a player who, at about $8 million a year, is overrated.
Yes, Perkins has value, but not nearly enough to warrant his contract. The Perkins-Jeff Green trade consummated between Boston and Oklahoma City has been one of the few lose-lose situations in recent memory, though if Green can resurrect himself in Boston after a year off due to a heart defect, Oklahoma City may find themselves green.
This one goes back so far, I couldn't even find a picture of Jack Sikma in a Sonics jersey. It's probably stored on microfiche somewhere in the basement of the NBA corporate offices.
If Jack Sikma isn't the worst "best player on a championship team," he has to be in the top three.
Even the year the Sonics won their only NBA title, Sikma averaged a good-but-not-great 15 points per game. Sikma also never shot better than 50 percent from the field, and lacks any seasons with the gaudy stats that seem to be requisite of every franchise player of an NBA championship team.
While Sikma remains somewhat overrated, his hair is most certainly underrated.