Timing is everything.
For one brief, moment in time, the Oklahoma City Thunder had three future NBA MVPs playing on one team.
What if Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kevin Durant all were still on the Thunder?? Like & Subscribe Song: T-shirt – Migos
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant never won an NBA title together when they played on OKC from the 2009-2010 season to the 2011-2012 campaign. Harden couldn’t really catch any bodies as a blossoming third-option for a talent-laden OKC squad that lost in the 2012 NBA finals to Miami’s Big Three, so he headed for Houston where he blossomed into the 2018 MVP and became an unstoppable scoring machine.
On the original OKC big three and the enduring what-if that only got louder now that they’re all MVPs: https://t.co/OmROhvIMKc
Westbrook and Durant constantly battled for the ball and but couldnt seem to find the chemistry, unselfishness and mutual respect needed to get over the championship hump, so Durant, a four-time scoring champ eventually decided to run through the pits of media and fan hell, right to Golden State in 2016-17.
That surprise power move by Durant sparked a war of words between him, Westbrook and the OKC organization which has developed into quite a rivalry when the former teammates meet up.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook get into it and have to be pulled apart during the Warriors vs Thunder game! My Twitter * https://twitter.com/FruitHoopsNBA About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada.
Westbrook stayed with OKC as the one shining star left and all that remains from the potential juggernaut that OKC was building from 2010-2012. Westbrook is the one-man wrecking crew who without the interference of Durant and Harden has been able to free-wheel and deal as OKCs first option and in 2017 he averaged the second triple-double in NBA history and got the respect he felt he lacked while living in KDs MVP and scoring-title shadow.
In another era, the three All-Stars might have had to stay together and work out any differences. It probably would have made them stronger and eventually unstoppable if they had the right coach. They probably could have won an NBA championship together, but free agency, social media, player empowerment, money and a new philosophy of ring-hunting changed the course of history for these three players.
Pre-game reading: On Kendrick Perkins, double-bird notwithstanding, vehemently defending Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with Golden State after all their years together in OKC “You get judged off of championships, so why not stack ’em up?” https://t.co/XJY2ofoxEq
When building a championship legacy, timing is the biggest factor. Players develop at different paces and flourish in different situations and trying to maintain three max-contract talents and egos on one team is an almost impossible task.
OKC with Harden, Westbrook and Durant will probably go down as one of the greatest teams that never was. Who knew that all three players would turn into one of the all-time greats? Who could have predicted that the breakup of that OKC squad would influence the landscape of the leagues future so dramatically?
Harden joins some old friends
At this juncture, only Durant can say that leaving OKC made him a champion. Harden got the immortal shine that he craved, but his playoff performances suggest that he’s a notch below a clutch superstar. Westbrook shows flashes of a champion, but his suspect playoff performances, ball-hogging ways and his inability to mesh with other talents — including Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this season — has garnered him a reputation of being a ballplayer who hasnt mastered the art of team-oriented championship play yet.
The legacy of OKCs original Big Three is that there is no legacy. They were three young talents caught in a changing NBA, where patience and team development and personal financial sacrifice are basically curse words in the vocabulary of modern day NBA business practices.
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As time goes on, people will forget how everything transpired in OK. How Harden wasnt nearly the player he is now as a chiseled NBA veteran, how Westbrook would rather lose for dolo than give KD any props, how KD couldnt beat Golden State so he joined them for the tainted glory and won rings that some OKC fans feel are as tainted as the legacy of false hope and temporary euphoria left by James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
The question 24 years from now will be, How come OKC didnt win a championship with three Hall of Famers?
Instead of being considered an average and competitive organization, OKC should be considered an elite franchise providing a blueprint for NBA success. They drafted magnificently — good enough to produce 3 of the Top 10 players in the game today. When has a franchise ever done that? There was just too much other opportunity, too much ego and not enough basketballs to go around.