Sports Illustrated 2020 Top 100 list feature copious existing and former OKC Thunder players

Steven Adams, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Steven Adams, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Sports Illustrated rolls out their annual 100 top players for the upcoming season which features several existing and former OKC Thunder players.

Just like each of the All-Decade lists has featured the OKC Thunder this Sports Illustrated list is no different. Albeit, there are many more “former” Thunder players on the list now, but after an offseason of shocking trades that’s a given.

Arguably many more names should be in the mix and in fairness a good number did make the list of the 25 players who just missed the cut. Still, given all lists are subjective there will always be player snubs or inclusions you disagree with.

On the 25 Snubs list:

Two present OKC Thunder players and four former players make the list of 25. Of those Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the exiting, Jerami Grant‘s omission feels especially egregious.

The commentary by ESPN writer Rob Mahoney for each player can be viewed by clicking on this link although I’ve included his full comments on SGA and Dennis Schroder below.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:

As mentioned at the top, all lists are subjective. Here’s where one of the contentious snubs kicks in. Sure, Jaren Jackson Jr. is destined to be a solid NBA player. Yet, how does he make the list but  SGA who continued to improve as the season and playoffs occurred miss the cut? Was he not the one player the Clippers were the most anxious to keep?

"Of all the young players under consideration, Gilgeous-Alexander felt the least predictable. His developmental arc is as amorphous as his game. Somehow, Gilgeous-Alexander is not quite a point guard, not quite a shooting guard, and not quite a combo guard, either, at least in the classic sense of the archetype. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, though there’s a lot to like in the way he feels out the game."

Dennis Schröder, Thunder:

"There’s no real advantage in playing Schröder as a starter, and not much to be gained, it seems, from playing him as a reserve. The 25-year-old point guard should have been the best backup Russell Westbrook ever had. Instead, the Thunder struggled to keep their heads above water whenever Schröder was on the floor. Putting up numbers (15.5 points and 4.1 assists per game) doesn’t signify much under those circumstances."

Top 100 list:

Nine current or former OKC Thunder players crack the top 100 list and that’s with the omission of Kevin Durant who would most certainly be in the top five had he not suffered a torn Achilles. We can grapple over Shai Gileous-Alexander not being in the mix but he can use this as motivation and note both De’Aaron Fox (33) and Pascal Siakam (24) failed to make the list last year.

While the former OKC Thunder players comprise seven of the nine players in the top 100 the exit of two superstars (who rank 12th and 9th) speaks to just how much talent has graced the floors of Chesapeake these past 11 seasons.

In terms of ESPN writer Rob Mahoney’s reasoning for the positioning on the list like the snubs, I’ve included excerpts from his article however you can view the full excerpts and article by clicking this link.

50: Danilo Gallinari OKC Thunder

"Danilo Gallinari is something of a wonder: a forward so amorphous as to avoid any real role or definition, and yet somehow effective in every phase of scoring. Even in understanding that Gallinari is a good shooter, it might come as a surprise that he ranked fifth (44.3%) in three-point percentage last season. —- Even if it’s not visually striking, there’s only so many ways to talk around the fact that among volume scorers, only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry were more efficient than Gallo was last season."

More from Thunderous Intentions

40. Steven Adams, OKC Thunder

"To understand what makes Steven Adams a great player, you have to start by looking around him. The scoring he contributes goes beyond his 13.9 PPG, considering that Adams is near the top of the league in screen assists. Even though Adams himself has fairly pedestrian rebounding numbers, no player in the league had a more profound impact on his team’s defensive rebounding last season. —–  Controlling a game is about walling off the basket, keeping opponents off the glass, and creating space between a ball-handler and the defense. Adams makes a living—and a difference—by drawing those lines."

21. Chris Paul, OKC Thunder

"Paul doesn’t move quite like he used to, yet last season he still ranked third among all players in points created by assist. It takes a bit more work to create the space he needs, but Paul still scored more efficiently out of isolation last year than Damian Lillard, Paul George, or Russell Westbrook, according to Synergy Sports. —-In the elimination game, Paul scored 27 points (on 11-of-19 shooting) with 11 rebounds and six assists. Paul can be a challenging coworker, and may not be quite transcendent enough these days to be as demanding as he is. Some further decline is inevitable. But if Paul’s performance in that game, and that series, and that season don’t matter, what are we even doing here?"

  • 12. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets (traded by Thunder this offseason)
  • 9. Paul George, LA Clippers
  • 5. James Harden, Houston Rocket

Overall Mahoney’s list is a fair assessment of the talent in the NBA although as mentioned there will always be a player(s) we think should be in the mix or higher on the list. For players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder, they should use this as part of their motivation heading into next season.

Chris Paul has one big question looming with Thunder. dark. Next

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section if you agree, disagree, who was snubbed or how you would change the order.