OKC Thunder: Ranking the 7 worst starters of the Russell Westbrook era

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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The OKC Thunder had one of the most impressive runs in professional sports from their initial season in Bricktown (2008-09) through the surprising 2019-20 NBA season. For the majority of that era of Thunder basketball, Russell Westbrook was a key cog playing 11 seasons, 821 games, for the franchise from 2008-19.

In that span, the Thunder surrounded Westbrook with a ton of high-end talent, from Kevin Durant and James Harden to Paul George and what was left of Carmelo Anthony. The OKC Thunder made a trip to the NBA Finals back in 2012 while routinely landing themselves a spot in the Western Conference finals during the Westbrook era.

For all the success the OKC Thunder had at that time as one of the winningest franchises in professional sports during that span, there were some holes in the team’s starting lineups for various reasons.

Ranking the seven worst starters for the OKC Thunder during the Russell Westbrook era in Bricktown.

Russell Westbrook not only saw a ton of roster overturn during his Oklahoma City tenure but some coaching changes as well, playing for three different bench bosses during his team with the franchise, from the short-lived P.J. Carlesimo stint to the at times stubborn Scott Brooks, and wrapping up his time with Billy Donovan. All of them had some faults, and all of them put out some shaky starting lineups.

To qualify for this list, said player must have made at least 18 starts during said seasons with the OKC Thunder. This list will progressively cover worse and worse players. For such a successful run, putting together a list like this was incredibly hard, and it had to include some pretty productive players.

Number 7: Desmond Mason

During the 2008-09 season, the OKC Thunder started Desmond Mason in 19 games, playing a total of 39 for the franchise. Mason earned a spot on the inaugural Thunder roster with a lot of ties to Oklahoma. The Waxahachie, Texas native played his college ball up the road in Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the Cowboys while playing professionally in Oklahoma City for the Hornets during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

With the OKC Thunder, Mason averaged 2.5 points, four rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 stocks per game, turning in shooting splits of 43/00/54. Of all players to start at least 18 games as a member of the Thunder, Mason holds the record for the worst win shares at -0.3. The reason for Mason to only rank seventh is partly due to the expectation level of that initial Thunder team. His lack of production that season did not cost OKC anything. Seeing a familiar face as professional sports debuted in Bricktown was cool.