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Top Ten OKC Thunder/Seattle Sonics of All-Time

Training camp is upon us, but we’re still living in the past at The Hoops Manifesto.  We’ve gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises.  Next up: the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder.

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf from the TWolves Blog; Don from With Malice, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily and Diego from Leaving It All On The Court.

10) Rashard Lewis – Seattle Supersonics – 1998 – 2007

Supersonics accomplishments:

– franchise all-time leader in three-pointers made
– seventh all-time in three-pointers made in NBA history
– one-time NBA All-Star

“Selected in the second round, Shard gradually proved all the doubters wrong while in Seattle. He and Ray Allen were both lethal shooters and they both complemented each other well.” – Diego Quezada 

9) Gus Williams – Seattle Supersonics – 1977 – 1980, 1981 – 1984

gus williams si

Supersonics accomplishments:

– jersey number (1) retired by the franchise
– member of the 1979 Supersonics NBA championship team
– two-time NBA All-Star
– two-time All-NBA selection

“An integral part of the Sonics’ 1979 championship team, Williams averaged a team-high 29 points per game in the ’79 Finals.” – Diego Quezada 

8) Ray Allen – Seattle Supersonics – 2003 – 2007

Supersonics accomplishments:

– NBA leader in three-pointers made in 2002/03 & 2005/06
– NBA leader in three-pointers attempted in 2005/06
– four-time NBA All-Star
– one-time All-NBA selection

“One of the best shooters in the history of the NBA, Allen was the Sonics’ ray of hope for the six seasons he played in Seattle. The one reason why he isn’t higher on this list is because he only took Seattle to the playoffs once.” – Diego Quezada 

7) Fred Brown – Seattle Supersonics – 1971 – 1984

Supersonics accomplishments:

– jersey number (32) retired by the franchise
– member of the 1979 Supersonics NBA championship team
– NBA leader in games played in 1973/74
– NBA leader in three-point % in 1979/80
– one-time NBA All-Star

“Downtown Freddie Brown.  Brown was the captain of the ’79 crew that won the title, and was considered to have a one of the best outside strokes in the game.” – Don

6) Spencer Haywood – Seattle Supersonics – 1970 – 1975

Supersonics accomplishments:

– jersey number (24) retired by the franchise
– four-time NBA All-Star
– four-time All-NBA selection

“Although his lasting legacy may be on paving the way for NBA prospects to forgo all four years of college, Haywood was one of the best scorers for Seattle. At 6-foot-8, Haywood was also among the League’s best rebounders.” – Diego Quezada 

“Haywood and then owner Sam Schulman actually sued the NBA in an anti-trust suit over when he became eligible to play… he definitely started his NBA career (he’d played a season in the ABA) as an unpopular player, but that quickly changed.  He went on to become an extremely good player for the Sonics – one of their only shining lights at the time.  In his time at Seattle, he averaged 24.9 ppg and 12.1 rpg – awesome numbers.” – Don

5) Dennis Johnson – Seattle Supersonics – 1976 – 1980

dennis johnson 1979 nba champ ring

Supersonics accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– jersey number (24) retired by the franchise
– member of the 1979 Supersonics NBA championship team
– NBA Finals MVP
– two-time NBA All-Star
– two-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
– one-time All-NBA selection

“Johnson is better known for his Celtic days, but DJ took the Sonics to two Finals appearances as a Sonic. The last time, Johnson was the Finals MVP of the only Seattle championship.” – Diego Quezada 

4) Kevin Durant – Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder – 2007 – present

Supersonics/Thunder accomplishments:

– NBA leader in games played in 2009/10
– NBA leader in minutes played in 2009/10
– NBA leader in field goals (made & attempted) in 2009/10
– NBA leader in free throws (made & attempted) in 2009/10
– NBA leader in points in 2009/10
– NBA leader in points per game in 2009/10
– one-time NBA All-Star
– one-time All-NBA selection
– NBA Rookie of the Year
– NBA All-Rookie Team

“The youngest player to win the NBA’s scoring title, KD has revived this franchise with his athleticism and scoring. The 2011 NBA MVP award is his to lose, so he should only go up on this list as time passes.” – Diego Quezada 

“We really do not know how good Kevin Durant can be. Everyone expects Durant to repeat as scoring champion in the 2010-11 season and he is the early favorite to win the MVP. It is hard to remember he will be turning 22 later this season. For the purposes of this list, his averages in just three seasons are incredible for a guy who only spent one year playing at the college level. By the time his career is over, he should be No. 1 on this list.” – Philip

“I figured he was going to be a good pro, but this good so soon?  Ridiculous.” – Jeff Fox

3) Jack Sikma – Seattle Supersonics – 1977 – 1986


Supersonics accomplishments:

– jersey number (43) retired by the franchise
– franchise all-time leader in free throws made, defensive & total rebounds
– member of the 1979 Supersonics NBA championship team
– NBA leader in games played in 1978/79 & 1983/84
– NBA leader in defensive rebounds in 1981/82 & 1983/84
– seven-time NBA All-Star
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– one-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“Sikma was a key component to Seattle’s championship team in 1979. He was a true grinder who would never wow you with his statistics, but just play extremely solid. He averaged a double-double in seven of his nine seasons in Seattle.” – Philip

“Centers that shoot as well as Jack Sikma are few and far between.  Matter o’ fact, there may not be a center that has ever shot the ball as sweetly as Sikma.  Career averaged a double-double at Seattle, and averaged over 85% from the charity stripe.  He remains the only center EVER in the NBA to win the FT crown!  And who was the center when in 1979 the Sonics won the title?  Why, sharp-shootin’ Jack Sikma of course!” – Don

2) Shawn Kemp – Seattle Supersonics – 1989 – 1997

Supersonics accomplishments:

– franchise all-time leader in free throws attempted, offensive rebounds & blocks
– NBA leader in games played in 1994/95
– five-time NBA All-Star
– three-time All-NBA selection

“Probably the best big man to come through this franchise, Kemp was a dominant low post threat for the Sonics. A key player on the 1996 Seattle team that pushed the 72-10 Bulls team to six games, Kemp was also one of the best rebounders.” – Diego Quezada 

“Shawn Kemp was one of the most amazing athletes to ever enter the NBA. There I said it. He leaped over tall players in a single bound and extended the art form of dunking established by Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. His dunks were violent, explosive and pretty damn impressive. Not only that, he paved the way for high schoolers to enter the NBA after opting not to go to college and play at a community college for a year. He would also pave the way for guys like Robert Traylor, Eddy Curry and Jerome James with the way his weight exploded once he reached Cleveland. But in Seattle, Kemp was one of the most fun and dynamic athletes to watch.” – Philip

“Looking at mere numbers, both Haywood and Xavier McDaniel were better at the power forward slot than Kemp… but neither had the impact on the franchise that the Reign Man did.  Possessing thunderous dunks, he – with Gary Payton – formed “Sonic Boom” (one of the NBA’s best ever big/little fastbreaks), and their alley-oops are now part of NBA folklore.” – Don

1) Gary Payton – Seattle Supersonics – 1990 – 2003

payton  jordan

Supersonics accomplishments:

– franchise all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), three-pointers attempted, assists, steals & points
– eighth all-time in games played in NBA history
– seventh all-time in minutes played in NBA history
– seventh all-time in assists in NBA history
– third all-time in steals in NBA history
– NBA leader in games played in 1990/91, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1997/98 & 1998/99
– NBA leader in threes (made & attempted) in 1999/00
– NBA leader in steals in 1995/96
– NBA leader in assists in 1999/00
– NBA leader in steals per game in 1995/96
– nine-time NBA All-Star
– NBA Defensive Player of the Year
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
– nine-time All-NBA selection 

“The king of the mouths is also, apparently, the king of this franchise. No other point guard has defended with such tenacity – either before him or after him.  When considering both offense and defense equally, is Payton one of the best point guards of all time? That’s a question worth discussing.” – Diego Quezada 

“From 1990 until 2003 Gary Payton was the Seattle Supersonics. Payton and Shawn Kemp ran rampant across the Western Conference throughout the mid-90s and then Payton took over as the lead dog.  Plus he made trash talking really cool.” – Philip

“The Glove was the premier defensive guard in his prime.  Well… actually, let’s call it the way it was: he was the premier defensive player in the 90s.  And eight consecutive All-NBA teams?  Amazing stuff.  More amazing?  The Sonics finished above .500 every year in his 12 years there, and made the playoffs 10 of those seasons.  Gary Payton could dish, he could score… and sheesh, could he defend.  Perhaps the best both-ends-of-the-court PGs of his era.” – Don

Previous franchises done: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Clippers, Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York.

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.