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Sports teams that remind you of OKC's roster of Harden, Westbrook, and Durant

Nov 8, 2017
1,211
#1
I was just thinking as OKC is likely to get tossed in the first round for the third year in a row what is would have been like if the OKC team that had Harden, Westbrook, and Durant had stayed together. That's actually 3 MVP winners on one team. Even Golden State "only" has 2 MVP winners. Would OKC have become a dynasty? Could they have all played together well? Would the Warriors dynasty have happened? Would my Cavs have won a championship? Lots of unknowns, but it would have been amazing to see them all stay together.

What are teams like OKC in any sport that were absolutely stacked, but due to injuries, trades, free agency, or whatever, never got to see their potential fulfilled and were cut short?
 
Last edited:
Nov 13, 2017
4,450
#4
I was just thinking as OKC is likely to get tossed in the first round for the third year in a row what is would have been like if the OKC team that had Harden, Westbrook, and Durant had stayed together. That's actually 3 MVP winners on one team. Even Golden State "only" has 2 MVP winners. Would OKC have become a dynasty? Could they have all played together well? Would the Warriors dynasty have happened? Would my Cavs have won a championship? Lots of unknowns, but it would have been amazing to see them all stay together.

What are teams like OKC in any sport that were absolutely stacked, but due to injuries, trades, free agency, or whatever, never got to see their potential fulfilled and were cut short?
The one caveat is that I don't think all three of those guys win MVP if they stick together, nor do I think that they would have been all that happy. But that was a masterclass in tanking, compiling draft picks, getting out of a city, then drafting super well, like historically well.
 
Nov 15, 2017
3,633
#5
OKC traded the wrong player when they dealt Harden to the Rockets. Had they sent Westbrook instead and kept a core of Ibaka, Durant and Harden, i'm sure they'd still be together and probably have at least 1 ring/finals trip. Westbrook, for as great good of an individual talent as he is, is not a winning player.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,097
#9
Trading harden was horrendously stupid especially with what they got, but harden doesnt become harden as a 6th man on that team.

And KD literally ran away to escape Westbrook so. I agree with the above of a duo of Harden and Dursnt could have been special
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,932
#10
You never know what each player's trajectory would have been if they all stuck together. Would they have been a great team? Almost certainly. Would they have been a dynasty? Debatable. Two of the Thunder's biggest problems (currently) are coaching and Westbrook's inefficiency. James Harden, to be the player he is today, similarly commands an astronomical usage rate. Durant is the best of the three but often bristled at Westbrook's decision-making. I see that as being even more of a problem had he shared the court with both a prime Westbrook and Harden. To top it all off, they have never had the coaching to make such a tricky dynamic work. That's a huge part of it.

The long-story-short is that the potential was enormous, but the execution would have been far from guaranteed.
 
Nov 13, 2017
4,450
#11
The other "what if" team that I can think of is the Magic. If Grant Hill had been healthy, he and McGrady would have been a devastating one-two punch. Then add the fact that Duncan was seriously considering joining them in free agency. Plus a young Doc coaching them.

The other one that confounds me is Dirk winning a ring after Nash left. Kind of like the Lakers finally winning after Baylor retired.

Oh I guess that's another what-if, the West-Baylor-Chamberlain trio. Celtics were just too dominant and West and Baylor had too many injuries.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,532
#13
2003 Lakers (lost in glorious fashion to the Pistons)
Shaq
Kobe
Payton
Malone

1998 Vikings
Cunningham
Moss
Carter

2007 Pats
Brady
Moss
Welker
Seau
Bruschi

Those 90s University of Michigan teams (Fab Five)
Chris Webber
Juwan Howard
Jalen Rose

90s Buffalo Bills
Jim Kelly
Thurman Thomas
Bruce Smith
Andre Reed
James Lofton

OKC still dealing with that Sonics curse.
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,102
#14
Not quite 3 ball hogs, but people questioned whether the Lebron Heat would work out, and I would say it went pretty well. You don't have to work out long term to knock out a few championships like they did.
Don't see Westbrook ever playing nice with both of them. Lebron took an ego hit to win a championship, Westbrook would never do that and thats why he is all alone now.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,089
#16
The other "what if" team that I can think of is the Magic. If Grant Hill had been healthy, he and McGrady would have been a devastating one-two punch. Then add the fact that Duncan was seriously considering joining them in free agency. Plus a young Doc coaching them.

The other one that confounds me is Dirk winning a ring after Nash left. Kind of like the Lakers finally winning after Baylor retired.

Oh I guess that's another what-if, the West-Baylor-Chamberlain trio. Celtics were just too dominant and West and Baylor had too many injuries.
Or if McGrady stayed with Carter.
 
Nov 13, 2017
4,450
#19
Not quite 3 ball hogs, but people questioned whether the Lebron Heat would work out, and I would say it went pretty well. You don't have to work out long term to knock out a few championships like they did.
That's a little different, though. Bosh sacrificed the most and Wade gave his team over to Lebron, but both of them had already had individual success on their own, with Wade even winning a championship. This would be three guys in their primes, two of which would want control of the ball and the third would still be the best scorer of the bunch and should have the ball in his hands the most. Plus Harden was coming off the bench because the team played better like that, no way that could have continued.
 
#20
I was just thinking as OKC is likely to get tossed in the first round for the third year in a row what is would have been like if the OKC team that had Harden, Westbrook, and Durant had stayed together. That's actually 3 MVP winners on one team. Even Golden State "only" has 2 MVP winners. Would OKC have become a dynasty? Could they have all played together well? Would the Warriors dynasty have happened? Would my Cavs have won a championship? Lots of unknowns, but it would have been amazing to see them all stay together.

What are teams like OKC in any sport that were absolutely stacked, but due to injuries, trades, free agency, or whatever, never got to see their potential fulfilled and were cut short?

Good.

Edit: yes I'm still bitter.
 
Feb 4, 2019
511
#21
Clippers had Griffin, Jordan, CP3 poised to take over.

A few years before that they had Miles, Richardson, and Odom and all the Youngblood poised to take over.

A few years after that they had Cassell, Mobley, and Brand poised to take over.
 
Nov 9, 2017
1,187
#23
Westbrook showed last night how his game is not that impressive when compared to the other two. His stat/triple double chasing style of play doesn't really translate into playoff wins. Would much rather have Dame on my team than Russ. Russ had a -27 plus/minus last night, worst on the team
 
Nov 13, 2017
4,450
#25
Clippers had Griffin, Jordan, CP3 poised to take over.

A few years before that they had Miles, Richardson, and Odom and all the Youngblood poised to take over.

A few years after that they had Cassell, Mobley, and Brand poised to take over.
As a clips fan, those last two weren't poised to take over. They were poised to make the playoffs and win a round but they weren't going to go toe to toe with Shaq/Kobe or anything.

Griffin/Jordan/CP3/Reddick/Crawford are intriguing if only because of the dramatic ways they found to lose... from the racism of the owner taking a spotlight to completely falling apart against the Rockets and the three point shooting of Josh Smith, to both CP3 and Blake getting constantly injured; they never really had a shot.

I still don't get why CP3 didn't take more criticism for joining the team that destroyed them in the playoffs. Maybe because it wasn't the year after.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,532
#30
Ken Griffey Jr
Edgar Martinez
Randy johnson
Alex Rodriguez

4 Hall of Famers (and Jay Fucking Buchner!) were all on the same team at one point in Seattle.
I had repressed that memory until now. 16 year old me was in tears when they got beat by the Yanks. I was more crushed by that than I was the Ms losing in the divisional playoff round after winning 116 games.
 
#34
OKC traded the wrong player when they dealt Harden to the Rockets. Had they sent Westbrook instead and kept a core of Ibaka, Durant and Harden, i'm sure they'd still be together and probably have at least 1 ring/finals trip. Westbrook, for as great good of an individual talent as he is, is not a winning player.
Also remember that OKC turned down a trade for Klay Thompson. He would have helped them.
 
#35
People always forget about the 2002 Red Wings. That team was STACKED:

Chris Chelios*
Pavel Datsyuk**
Sergei Federov*
Dominik Hasek*
Brett Hull*
Igor Larionov*
Nicklas Lidstrom*
Luc Robitaille*
Brendan Shanahan*
Steve Yzerman*

*Hall of Famer
**Future Hall of Famer

And many other solid players like Kris Draper, Manny Legace, and Tomas Holmstrom
 
Nov 14, 2017
5,637
#40
Durant and Curry both have very high USG% on a fairly loaded starting 5 right now. That OKC team would still be competing for championships right now...if Westbrook accepted a diminished role. He's by far the least efficient of the three but his usage rate has remained the highest throughout his career.

USG % 2019 (Career avg in parenthesis):

Curry - 30.4 (27.9)
Durant - 29.0 (30.1)
Klay Thompson 25.6 (24.7)
Harden - 40.5 (30.2)
Westbrook - 30.9 (32.6)
Paul George - 29.5 (26.3)

USG % 2016 (Warriors 73 win season, Curry MVP season, pre-Durant)

Curry - 32.6
Durant - 30.6
Westbrook - 31.6

USG % 2014 (Durant MVP season)
Durant - 33.0
Westbrook - 34.4

USG % 2012 (year of the OKC finals team, Lebron MVP season):

Durant - 31.3
Harden - 21.6
Westbrook - 32.7
Lebron James - 32.0 (31.5)
Dwyane Wade - 31.3 (31.4)
Chris Bosh - 24.2 (24.6)

TLDR having multiple high USG% guys on the same team isn't new or even a bad thing. You want the ball in the hands of highly skilled players the majority of the time, forcing teams to react as they score consistently. But even coming off the bench in 2012, Harden was a much more efficient scorer than Westbrook, with a TS% of 66% compared to Russ' 54%. Anyone who was paying attention could tell you that trading him for garbage (sorry Kevin whoever) was a bad move. Westbrook has had a usage rate as high as, or higher than, the best players in the league every year, even when they're on his team. OKC could have easily had a contender for half a decade by building around Durant and Harden. They thought they had the better player in Westbrook and have gone all in on catering to his play style, which after this season and current playoffs should show isn't a way to win consistently.
 
Nov 13, 2017
4,450
#42
Durant and Curry both have very high USG% on a fairly loaded starting 5 right now. That OKC team would still be competing for championships right now...if Westbrook accepted a diminished role. He's by far the least efficient of the three but his usage rate has remained the highest throughout his career.

USG % 2019 (Career avg in parenthesis):

Curry - 30.4 (27.9)
Durant - 29.0 (30.1)
Klay Thompson 25.6 (24.7)
Harden - 40.5 (30.2)
Westbrook - 30.9 (32.6)
Paul George - 29.5 (26.3)

USG % 2016 (Warriors 73 win season, Curry MVP season, pre-Durant)

Curry - 32.6
Durant - 30.6
Westbrook - 31.6

USG % 2014 (Durant MVP season)
Durant - 33.0
Westbrook - 34.4

USG % 2012 (year of the OKC finals team, Lebron MVP season):

Durant - 31.3
Harden - 21.6
Westbrook - 32.7
Lebron James - 32.0 (31.5)
Dwyane Wade - 31.3 (31.4)
Chris Bosh - 24.2 (24.6)

TLDR having multiple high USG% guys on the same team isn't new or even a bad thing. You want the ball in the hands of highly skilled players the majority of the time, forcing teams to react as they score consistently. But even coming off the bench in 2012, Harden was a much more efficient scorer than Westbrook, with a TS% of 66% compared to Russ' 54%. Anyone who was paying attention could tell you that trading him for garbage (sorry Kevin whoever) was a bad move. Westbrook has had a usage rate as high as, or higher than, the best players in the league every year, even when they're on his team. OKC could have easily had a contender for half a decade by building around Durant and Harden. They thought they had the better player in Westbrook and have gone all in on catering to his play style, which after this season and current playoffs should show isn't a way to win consistently.
All that analysis but you're forgetting one factor... the coach. Plus the fact that OKC is notoriously cheap and would've cheaped out well before they reached dynasty phase (probably after one championship).

This is the team that decided who they were going to draft in the late first round by asking who was willing to play overseas for a year or two.
 
Nov 15, 2017
3,633
#44
Also remember that OKC turned down a trade for Klay Thompson. He would have helped them.
But then Harden would have been on the Golden State. Oh boy, can you just imagine how different NBA history would be if they trade had happened? LeBron probably has 4-5 rings right now and signs with a contender instead of choosing LA to chase Jordan's 6. Curry probably never becomes the stud he did. Who knows what would have become of Durant and if they would have stood together this long. Hell, maybe we'd have seen the Thunder vs Cavs/Whatever team LeBron was on in the finals for 3 years instead.

Brb, inventing the what-if machine to see how this played out.
 
Oct 27, 2017
234
#46
2003-2004 Lakers were one year out of their 3-peat. Load up with Gary Payton and Karl Malone, make it back to the finals but get worked over by the Pistons. Kobe and Shaq have their beef and Shaq gets traded. Didn't have 3 concurrent MVPs but Malone was... 4? years out of his second and Shaq was a bit more recent.

Also in that year, the Avalanche loaded up with Kariya and Selanne to go with Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, and Peter Forsberg. They were undone with Kariya and Forsberg being injured and poor goaltending.