How OKC Thunder compare vs. adversaries- dissecting Sports Illustrated top 100 by conference, division, team

Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Paul George, Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Diving into Sports Illustrated’s top 100 for key takeaways on Conference, Division and team splits and how the OKC Thunder compare to adversaries.

Every offseason Sports Illustrated writers Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney come out with their annual top 100 NBA player list. This year the OKC Thunder nabbed four spots with two players making the top 11 (not hard to figure those guys out, huh).

The list is eagerly awaited by fans, media and players alike. To keep it exciting S.I. reveals the list in portions build anticipation for the top 10. Pundits and fans use it as a benchmark to measure player and team success. While some players use it as a motivational tool in season – just ask DeMar DeRozan.

Shifts in power, current “it” teams and noticeable regression are reflected here. Golliver and Mahoney do their homework and while you might not agree with all the placements there is no denying the guys offer solid arguments. As two of the best in the business this list can serve as a gauge to where the National writers envision not only the Association’s best ballers, but also which teams are considered the power players.

Hints at preseason power rankings:

For example, most preseason predictions will point to the two squads who also coincidentally are the only teams who land six players on the list. Those squads are the current champion Golden State Warriors and the team who came within one quarter of taking out LeBron James last season – the Boston Celtics.

Six teams have five players ranked and a further eight  have four players. Based on the cumulative 16 teams who have between six and four members on the list it would be a safe bet to suggest those are the same teams Mahoney and Golliver will put in their power ranking to make the postseason. Since the east features seven of those squads we’ll have to figure out which squad ascends in the east and which fails to make the cut in the west.

Likewise the 14 teams who rank three or fewer players on the list will produce the majority of your lottery picks this season. Although nothing is ever set in stone and every season features a Cinderella team(s) don’t be surprised if at season end the teams with four or more players ranked comprises close to 95 percent of the playoff clubs.

With that, the next segments offers further insights by Conference, Division and individual teams.