All-Star Break Grades for Each Oklahoma City Thunder Player
However, there are also a few bad ones. The Thunder have been anything but a perfect team. In fact, they have been far from it at times. Who could blame them, especially given the roster upheaval and new faces they have had to deal with?
Most of the principal players have only improved, which is good news for a young franchise that has built what looks like one of the most stable playoff contenders for the next decade.
2012-13 Stats: 2.8 points, 2.0 assists
The only player for the Oklahoma City Thunder who has been a major disappointment this season is Eric Maynor. The fourth-year point guard has struggled to find his rhythm this season after sitting out almost all of last season with a knee injury.
Maynor was never one to fill up the stat sheet, even at his best, but he is averaging career-lows in basically every important statistical category. He also does not look the same out on the court, seeming to have lost the uncanny ability he once had to efficiently run the Thunder’s second team offense.
2012-13 Stats: 2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds
It appears that in his fourth season, Hasheem Thabeet has finally found a team that he can call home in the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thabeet has settled nicely into his role as the team’s backup center behind Kendrick Perkins.
Free from the pressure that came early in his career as a No. 2 overall draft pick, Thabeet is allowed to be what he is in OKC: a developing player. He provides a defensive backbone for the second unit and is showing steady improvement in his game on a nightly basis.
2012-13 Stats: 3.9 points, 1.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds
Although it is hard to tell by looking at stats alone, Reggie Jackson has made a big jump since his rookie season last year. In fact, he has been good enough to supplant Eric Maynor as the No. 2 point guard on the team (something that no one expected coming into this season).
Jackson is an explosive athlete and a combo guard, much in the vein of Russell Westbrook. The biggest way Jackson has improved is his shooting. He shot just 32 percent from the field in his rookie season, but that number has jumped this year all the way up to 45 percent.
2012-13 Stats: 5.5 points, 4.3 rebounds
What is there to say about Nick Collison? While remaining one of the biggest stabilizing forces on the team, Collison is shooting career-highs from the field (62 percent) and from the free-throw line (78 percent).
Of all the players on this team, Collison does the most with the least recognition. He is the type of veteran every team wants, a savvy player who does all the little things and cares far more about the team than he ever does about himself. This season has been no exception for him.
2012-13 Stats: 4.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
Kendrick Perkins has been one of the most controversial players on this team over the last few years, mainly because many fans believe the team should cut bait with him and move on. There are plenty of good reasons to be down on Perkins, which is why he received one of the lowest grades on this list.
However, Perkins does get some credit for his renewed effort in recent games, particularly on the offensive end. He will always be an asset in the locker room, as no one can deny the element of toughness he brought to this team.
2012-13 Stats: 7.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists
Another veteran who contributes beyond the stat sheet for the Oklahoma City Thunder is Thabo Sefolosha. The 6 foot 7 inch shooting guard’s primary purpose for the team has been as a defensive stopper on the wing, but he has added plenty more for the Thunder this season.
Sefolosha continues to become more and more of a contributor on offense, after being an anemic offensive player just a few years ago. He has been a great floor-spacer on that end of the floor with his three-point shot, and he has tied a career-high in field goal percentage this season (47 percent).
2012-13 Stats: 15.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists
There were many doubters at the beginning of the season when it came to whether or not Kevin Martin could fill the void that James Harden’s departure left on this team. While he is not the same player Harden is— or was — Martin has done a great job of providing offense off the bench.
Martin is clearly benefitting from playing with players who draw away defensive attention. He is shooting a career-high 43.6 percent from three-point range and 45.4 percent from the field (highest since 2007-08). Martin deserves an A for this effort, by transitioning so seamlessly into this new role with a new team.
2012-13 Stats: 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.0 blocks
Another big question being asked in the aftermath of the James Harden trade at the beginning of the season was about who would take up the extra scoring slack that would obviously be left behind. Serge Ibaka gets the highest grade possible for being able to answer that call.
Ibaka has steadily improved each season he has played in the NBA, but the improvement between last season and this one is the most impressive. He is scoring nearly five more points per game and has improved almost every statistical category of his game other than blocks.
2012-13 Stats: 22.5 points, 8.0 assists, 5.1 rebounds
Russell Westbrook is one of the most frustrating players to watch in the league. However, he has played outstanding basketball on the whole this season.
While his shooting percentage is down, Westbrook’s assists are up and turnovers are down. He has also continued to improve on the least-talked-about part of his game, his rebounding. Of all the NBA’s point guards, only Rajon Rondo has been a better rebounder than Westbrook.
Every time one thinks Kevin Durant could have reached his peak, No. 35 simply continues to improve his game. In case you have not recognized it now Thunder fans, you are watching a legend in the making and need to pay attention.
Durant is having the best season of his career in almost every way. He is shooting career-highs from the field, three-point line and free-throw line. His passing has also improved by leaps and bounds, and his blocks and steals are at career-highs. This guy is still young, and he is already unarguable the second-best player in the game. The fact that his prime has yet to come is mystifying.
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