Oklahoma City Thunder's Biggest Unsung Heroes This Season

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

Oklahoma City Thunder's Biggest Unsung Heroes This Season

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder are a star-studded squad with quite a few big-name players, including: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka.

    However, this team also has quite a few other good players who don't get anywhere near the kind of publicity the previously mentioned guys do.

    These unsung heroes are a big reason why the Thunder are well on their way to a second consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals.

    They may not be the biggest names in the business, but the following are key cogs in the OKC machine.

Scott Brooks

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    Team chemistry is a hard thing to judge, just as it's hard to say how much it really matters in the grand scheme of things.

    However, it's pretty safe to assume that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook weren't very happy when their best friend James Harden was traded.

    Given their youth, it could've been easy for either of the two to have their play affected by that tough off-the-court decision.

    It's a testament to Scott Brooks' ability as a coach that the team hasn't really missed a beat without Harden, looking just as dangerous in 2013 as it was last year.

    Coach Brooks played a big part in keeping his stars happy, which is huge for a young team with so much potential.

Kevin Martin

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    Speaking of James Harden, how about the guy who the Oklahoma City Thunder traded him for?

    Kevin Martin's scoring 15.1 points off the bench for the Thunder, entering himself into the running for 2013's Sixth Man of the Year Award.

    Martin doesn't have Harden's ability to create on offense, but he can put the ball through the hoop, as seen in his career high shooting percentage across the board.

    The Thunder haven't forgotten James Harden just yet; however, Martin is making life easier in the time after the bearded one.

Hasheem Thabeet

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    Hasheem Thabeet has steadily become a bigger and bigger part of the Oklahoma City Thunder's frontcourt rotation.

    He's not the best player on the court, but his game is slowly improving, and he could become a major factor against certain teams in the playoffs.

    As seen in the Thunder's last game against the Utah Jazz, the team sometimes struggles against squads with size.

    Thabeet is a legit 7'3", and if he can continue on his current path of becoming a solid role player, he could be just what the doctor ordered against teams like the Jazz.

    If nothing else, he gives the team more fouls to work with, but his defensive presence could factor in heavily this postseason.

Thabo Sefolosha

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    Thabo Sefolosha's impact hardly ever shows up in the box score.

    Sure, he's going to have games like his recent 20-point outburst, where he scores big points because he gets hot from deep, but Sefolosha is never going to become a star in this league.

    However, he does do all the little things right and matches up against the league's best guards on a nightly basis—freeing up Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to focus on the offensive end.

    Sefolosha is beginning to get credit as a "Kobe-stopper," and it's deserved, considering how well he locks down opponents for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Nick Collison

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    Not many people do as many positive things with limited minutes as Nick Collison.

    If you look up "role player" or "hustle" in the dictionary, don't be surprised if you see a picture of Nick Collison.

    The master of taking a charge, Collison's ability to do all the little things right makes him one of the best role players in the league.

    He also has made an impact off the court this season in trying to help young guys like Serge Ibaka and Hasheem Thabeet improve their game.

    Plus, not many more athletes can keep their hair as impeccably suave as Collison.

    He is never going to be a star like Kevin Durant, but his impact on every game makes him the team's biggest unsung hero so far this season.