The Thunder continue a trend of NBA excellence

The Thunder continue a trend of NBA excellence
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

At first glance, you might think the Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t led the NBA in any category in recent years.

They made an NBA Finals appearance in 2012, but other than that they’ve had plenty of disappointing playoff losses and a frustrating rebuilding process since Kevin Durant left in 2016.

But this season they exceeded expectations by reaching the qualifying tournament, and that was largely thanks to the excellent play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

He was named to the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday, which came as a bit of a surprise, but in doing so he added to a startling tally of All-NBA totals for the Thunder.

Since leaving Seattle in 2008, the Thunder have had several top NBA stars, including Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Chris Paul.

Durant was a longtime fixture on All-NBA teams, particularly during his time in Oklahoma City, as was Westbrook, who was named regular season MVP for the 2016-17 campaign.

Following Durant’s departure, George was traded to the Thunder in 2017 and was named to an All-NBA team during his two seasons with the team.

After George’s stunning trade to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2019, Westbrook was sent to the Houston Rockets for Paul, who led Oklahoma City to a surprise playoff appearance in the 2019-20 season while being part of the second All NBA team.

With Gilgeous-Alexander, as well as Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, due next season, not to mention a treasure chest of first-round picks acquired, the future looks bright. for the Thunder.

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