Oklahoma City Thunder

Final 1st-Half Player Power Rankings for OKC Thunder

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIJanuary 9, 2014

Final 1st-Half Player Power Rankings for OKC Thunder

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder are, as expected, one of the best teams in the Western conference. OKC has managed to avoid collapse without Russell Westbrook, which is largely the result of the team's other superstar: Kevin Durant. How do the players on one of the league's most exciting teams stack up? Find the answers in these power rankings.

    Each player is ranked based on his all-around talent and skill, not his importance to the Thunder. For example, it would be easy to make a case that Thabo Sefolosha is more valuable to OKC than Jeremy Lamb, but Lamb's limitless talent earns him the higher spot in these rankings.

    To determine how the players stack up, their statistics are examined as well as their all-around impact on games. There are no prizes for guessing who makes up the top three, but click through the slideshow to find out how the rest of the roster shakes out.

Nos. 11-13: Hasheem Thabeet, Andre Roberson and Derek Fisher

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    13. Hasheem Thabeet

    Hasheem Thabeet quickly lost his place in the rotation to rookie Steven Adams, and he's only seen action in five games this year.

    He still provides value as a shot-blocker, but his offensive game is extremely stunted and he makes Kendrick Perkins look fast. 

     

    12. Andre Roberson

    The rookie out of Colorado hasn't found that much playing time this year, but that's to be expected considering how raw he is. In flashes, he's shown the ability to develop into a perimeter stopper, but he's still a long way from that goal.

    On offense, it gets ugly, but he can carve out a role in this league as a wing defender like Sefolosha.

     

    11. Derek Fisher

    Derek Fisher is like Kendrick Perkins. He doesn't bring much in the way of on-court contributions anymore, but he's a superb leader with the veteran experience to guide a very young OKC roster through the playoffs.

10. Kendrick Perkins

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    Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Per-Game Stats: 19 MIN, 3.2 PTS (45.7% FG), 4.2 REB, 6.7 PER

     

    Perkins just looks old out there. It looks as though his shoes are filled with cement, for that could be the only reason he moves so slowly on the court. Any offensive game he ever had has abandoned him, and he's not the defensive force he used to be.

    Nevertheless, he's still a leader for a young OKC team and barks out commands as the last line of defense.

    Perkins' value isn't what he does on the court but how he leads by example and brings an edge to the Thunder.

9. Steven Adams

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    Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Per-Game Stats: 15 MIN, 4.1 PTS (49.5% FG), 4.4 REB, 0.9 BLK, 13.6 PER

     

    Adams has dropped off a little since his impressive start, but that doesn't mean he's playing poorly. He's giving the Thunder great energy and activity off the bench, and every minute he's on the floor is a chance for him to learn and develop.

    He's still ranked ninth in these power rankings, but once he starts to put everything together he could shoot up the list.

    Athletic 7-footers who can get it done on both ends of the court don't grow on trees.

8. Perry Jones III

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    Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Per-Game Stats: 11 MIN, 3.6 PTS (55.1% FG, 42.9% 3P), 1.7 REB, 13.1 PER

     

    Perry Jones isn't getting much playing time yet, but he's making the most of it. According to Synergy Sports (subscription required), he's in the top 20 NBA players for points scored per possession (1.08) and points allowed per possession (0.62).

    That's quite the accomplishment.

    He's been a very reliable three-point shooter, but his biggest contributions come on the defensive end. Jones is maturing, and he's doing a little bit of everything on the floor, which is what head coach Scott Brooks wants to see.

    Jones' time is coming, and he could be a force for the Thunder in the playoffs.

7. Nick Collison

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Per-Game Stats: 18 MIN, 4.6 PTS (54.5% FG), 3.5 REB, 1.1 AST, 11.7 PER

     

    Nick Collison never wows you with his skills or athleticism, but he's one of the most important players on the Thunder roster. Every championship team needs that quintessential "glue guy," and that's exactly what Collison is.

    He plays hard, hits the floor frequently and puts his body on the line for his team. That kind of hustle is contagious and sets the tone for his teammates.

    His stats aren't impressive, but his contributions never show up in the box score.

6. Thabo Sefolosha

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    NBA Photos/Getty Images

    Per-Game Stats: 25 MIN, 6.3 PTS (29.7% 3P), 3.8 REB, 1.1 STL, 9.9 PER

     

    Sefolosha isn't as talented as the players ahead of him in these power rankings, and he's a purely one-dimensional player, which costs him a few spots in the rankings, but he is absolutely phenomenal in that one dimension.

    He knows what he is: a stopper.

    Sefolosha leads the league in points allowed per possession on isolations (0.42 PPP, according to Synergy Sports) and remains one of the league's best perimeter defenders.

    His three-point shooting has inexplicably disappeared and his complete lack of an offensive game lands him at No. 6 in the power rankings, but don't underestimate his talent nor his importance to OKC.

5. Jeremy Lamb

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Per-Game Stats: 21 MIN, 10.0 PTS (46.3% FG, 38.3% 3P), 2.8 REB, 1.5 AST, 15.7 PER

     

    Lamb's hot start was no fluke, as he's continued to be one of OKC's best perimeter shooters and is improving with every minute on the floor.

    He's already a much better offensive player than Sefolosha and has the length and athleticism to be a pest on the defensive end.

    Lamb's continued excellence will be a big part of the Thunder's playoff chances, as he provides points off the bench. If he continues to play this way, OKC has a great chance of advancing deep into the postseason.

4. Reggie Jackson

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    Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

    Per-Game Stats: 26 MIN, 13.0 PTS, 3.9 REB, 3.7 AST, 0.9 STL, 16.9 PER

     

    Reggie Jackson has been a vital part of the OKC machine this season and has thrived as the sixth man. He's in full control of the second unit and is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

    Unfortunately, he hasn't adjusted well to playing as the starter when Westbrook has been absent. When everyone is healthy, however, Coach Brooks can count on Jackson to give his team a scoring punch off the bench.

    In addition, Jackson is bringing his energy to both sides of the floor. He isn't racking up steals at a high clip, but he's been a solid defensive presence hounding ball-carriers and putting pressure on ball-handlers.

    The OKC bench has been one of the biggest surprises of the year, and Jackson is the engine fueling the movement.

3. Serge Ibaka

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Per-Game Stats: 32 MIN, 14.1 PTS (52% FG, 32% 3P), 8.7 REB, 2.3 BLK, 17.9 PER

     

    Serge Ibaka has come back to Earth in recent weeks. There was a period when he was averaging a double-double, but his rebounding numbers have dropped below 10, and that really shouldn't be the case.

    Regardless, his jump shot is even better than it was last year, and he's now very comfortable knocking down open three-pointers.

    In addition, his energy on the defensive end alters shots and locks down pick-and-rolls.

    He hasn't taken the next step to becoming a consistent third option yet, but the emergence of Jackson and Lamb means that he doesn't have to.

    Ibaka is a very effective two-way big man who is still developing, which makes him one of the most valuable players in the league.

2. Russell Westbrook

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    Per-Game Stats: 33 MIN, 21.3 PTS (42% FG), 6.0 REB, 7.0 AST, 1.8 STL, 4.0 TO, 21.5 PER

     

    Westbrook hasn't found his groove due to multiple knee surgeries and missed games. He's not playing up to his high standards and looked rusty, but he's still one of the best players in the NBA.

    The efficiency and assists are down and the turnovers are up, but those issues should sort themselves out once (if?) he gets back to full strength and gets some continuity on the court.

    Until that point, OKC is hoping to stay afloat without him.

    Another aspect of Westbrook that merits discussion but doesn't directly relate to his game is his freakish body. He returned far sooner than expected from his first surgery, and he seems on pace to do it again after a second surgery.

    He's one tough guy who loves his team, and that passion makes him one of the game's greats.

1. Kevin Durant

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    Per-Game Stats: 38 MIN, 29.5 PTS (49% FG, 41% 3P), 8.3 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.6 STL, 0.9 BLK, 3.0 TO, 29.6 PER

     

    Durant has been overlooked this season, and it's a crime. Lost in the fact that LeBron James is shooting close to 60 percent from the floor and Paul George's rise to superstardom is the fact that Durant's numbers are better than both of theirs.

    Durant obviously isn't on the same level as them defensively, but he's making a convincing case to take home his first MVP trophy—especially with Westbrook missing so much time.

    Don't believe me? Try this on for size.

    According to advanced metrics from ESPN, Durant leads the league in player efficiency Rating (PER), value added and estimated wins added.

    What's more, he has a higher rebounding rate, higher usage rate and lower turnover ratio than James. James still has a higher assist percentage and true shooting percentage, but Durant has taken his game to the next level.

    In the NBA, the hierarchy goes as follows: James, sizable gap, Durant, sizable gap, everybody else.

    The way Durant is playing, he's closer to James than he is to everybody else, and that's quite the achievement.

    The "Durantula" (which is easily one of the best and most fitting nicknames in the league) is carrying the Thunder on his back, and he's also edging closer and closer to a second consecutive 50-40-90 season.

    Quite simply, the kid is ridiculous. If you expected another OKC player to be No. 1, maybe you're on the wrong website.

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