Former OKC Thunder stars land on ESPN top 74 individual seasons

OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

ESPN ranked the top 74 individual seasons with two former OKC Thunder players making the grade and one noticeable absence.

Exercises, where ranking is involved, are always subjective. Inevitably, fans will find a -reason to debate the findings. Bias certainly plays a role in these arguments because no statistic can encompass all the dynamics of winning. With that in mind, Kevin Pelton of ESPN ranked the top 74 individual season performances. Two former OKC Thunder players made the cut and one former superstar was glaringly absent.

That Kevin Durant makes the list more than once isn’t surprising. KD makes the list four times, on two occasions for each franchise. His OKC Thunder rankings are for the 2013-14 season (29th) and 2011-12 (57th). His Warriors tenure lands him in the 53rd and 55th spots.

James Harden makes the grade ranking 61st for his 2017-18 MVP season. Perhaps the one shock is Russell Westbrook missing the grade especially considering the factors used in ranking the individuals.

Pelton explains he places emphasis on win shares by the individual since it highlights how much their production affects winning. Other factors included by the ESPN scribe are winning the title or getting deep into the postseason (see Harden). The other key determinant Pelton used was winning and awards.

That’s why the Westbrook MVP season not ranking will offer fodder for fans to debate. 25 years from now it will be considered one of the greatest feats ever, especially considering the OKC Thunder team he had surrounding him with a lack of 3-point shooting or that it came in the season immediately after Durant bailed to join the Warriors.

Again, this is one of those situations where bias will play a factor. opening debates on who places where. Pelton follows his method but he leaves room for debate.

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The top 10 individual games aren’t surprising either with each member ranking multiple times on the list. Michael Jordan makes the list the most with nine placements in the top 74.

  1. Michael Jordan – 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. MJ makes the list for each of his six championship as well as three other seasons. Outside of his two top 10 placements he also ranks 12th, 17th, 21st, 26th, 59th, 60th, and 69th.
  2. Wilt Chamberlain – 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers as well as the 4th placement in the top 10. In addition, he also makes ranks four more times: 40th, 42nd 48th, and 72nd.
  3. LeBron James – 2012-13 Miami Heat. The current king of the league ranks in the top 10 two additional times (see below) and five more times: 23rd, 27th 33rd, 34th, and 45th.
  4. Wilt Chamberlain – 1963-64 San Francisco Warriors. See above for other years the big man ranked in the top 74.
  5.  Michael Jordan – 1990-91 Bulls. See above for other years the GOAT ranked.
  6. George Mikan – 1948-49 Minneapolis Lakers. He also ranks on 22nd, 39th, and 51st.
  7.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -1970-71 Bucks as well as 24th, 30th, 44th, and 47th.
  8. LeBron James – 2008-09 Cavaliers.  See above for other years LBJ ranked.
  9. LeBron James – 2011-12 Heat.  See above for other years LBJ ranked.
  10. Shaquille O’Neal – 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers. The fact Kobe Bryant doesn’t make the top 10 list considering he won five rings is noteworthy. O’Neal also ranks 35th and 54th.

For the full list and explanation for each placement by Pelton click here.

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