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The Top Fantasy Basketball Players on the Oklahoma City Thunder

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Though Fantasy Basketball is nowhere near as popular as Fantasy Football, I figured some people would get some use out of seeing who is and isn't of value on the Oklahoma City Thunder. I'm no fantasy expert (in fact, I'm doing points only in my league this year), but I see every Thunder game and analyze the stats in that context, so what I say should be helpful in that I know how well the player will do in relation to the team. If you already know generally how good a player is, this should be helpful.

Draft Projections are based on a 12 team league with a 12 Round Draft and general consensus on the player's worth, not my personal ranking. Rankings, however, are based on my personal opinion. All stats given are per game.

Props to Dan Higgins for the post idea.

1. Kevin Durant

Key Stats from Last Year: 27 PTS, 46% FG, 88% FT, 7 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TO

Up or Down: Up

Why? Kevin Durant has easily been the most impressive summer league player, going everywhere from Rucker Park to China. It seems like he didn't turn down a single offer to play, and he even found time to play in some flag football games. He pretty much dominated every game he played in, showing off an array of dunks, layups, and lazer-beam threes. Meanwhile, this will be Durant's first full season without Jeff Green or Nenad Krstic to help him out offensively, meaning he could shoulder more of the load. And with James Harden poised to take more time this year, he could shoulder more of the defensive load. And he's never missed more than a couple of games due to injury. Taking Durant for your fantasy team is a win-win.

Why Not? Durant has a few too many turnovers, and he can have some really bad nights from beyond the arc. But that's about it, really.

Projected: Early first round.

2. Russell Westbrook

Key Stats from Last Year: 21 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO

Up or Down: Push

Why? Westbrook is coming off of an excellent third year, one which saw his first trip to the All-Star game. Like Durant, he's on a team with fewer offensive options than last year, potentially increasing his offensive role. He'll also be paired with a fully recovered Kendirck Perkins, who was reportedly playing at 60% last year, potentially increasing his assists. Overall, he's a very strong fantasy option, with no injury history and little fear of Eric Maynor stealing his minutes.

Why Not? Unfortunately, he's also been the subject of recent criticism. Namely, bandwagon fans saw him hog the ball a bit too much in the conference finals. If anything, this will be the year where Westbrook tries to downplay his offensive role a bit more as the Thunder search for more scoring options. So I'll expect a few games here or there where he tries a bit too hard and ends up doing nothing at all. Also, four turnovers a game is a bit too much.

Projected: Late First/Early Second Round

Below: Harden, Ibaka, Perk, and the Rest!

3. James Harden

Key Stats From Last Year: 12 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL

Up or Down: Up

Why? He had some remarkable games in the playoffs, and showed everybody what he's been capable of these past couple of years. He's also shown that his defense and fast break game can be more than adequate, even when stacked up against Thabo Sefolosha.

Why Not? James Harden was a bit of a disappointment last year, reportedly not coming off of the bench last year due to some practice issues and never really having the games we knew he was capable of. As of right now, he's still behind Sefolosha on the depth chart, and his offensive game hasn't evolved too much beyond the basic "drive/shoot from the three point line" philosophy.

Projection: 5th/6th Round

4. Serge Ibaka

Key Stats From Last Year: 10 PTS, .543 FG%, 8 REB, 2 BLK

Up or Down: Up Defensively, Down Offensively

Why? There's really only one big reason Serge Ibaka is a fantasy factor: Blocks. And, believe it or not, he's poised to get more blocks this season. It will be his first complete season off of the bench, and he showed some unbelievable defense, athleticism, and rebounding in Europe this summer. Again, Ibaka is a perfect example of clean health, and has made leaps and bounds in his ability to avoid stupid mistakes.

Why Not? Ibaka didn't show a whole lot of offense in this off-season for Real Madrid or Spain, which is bad news for a team that needs it badly. His jumpshot was nearly nonexistant, and most of his points came off of putbacks.

Projected: Early to Mid Third Round

5. Kendrick Perkins

Key Stats From Last Year: 5 PTS, 53% FT, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK

Up or Down: Up

Why? His scoring will hopefully be up from last year, even though the Thunder aren't as adept at passing into the post as the Celtics were. He's also fully recovered from the knee injury that slowed him last season, and he should get a few more minutes, so his stats are poised to improve overall.

Why Not? Kendrick Perkins doesn't really stand out fantasy-wise. He'll get a decent number of rebounds, but there's guys who get a lot more than he does. He's also had some injury problems, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him miss 10-15 games this season with random knee pains.

Projection: 7th/8th Round

6. Thabo Sefolosha

Key Stats From Last Year: 5 PTS, 27% 3PT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK

Up or Down: Down

Why? He's the glue utility player your team might need at the end of the draft. Sure, you could get a 12 PPG guy, but you won't get the rebounds, steals, and blocks that Sefolosha will provide. The best part about him is that his intangible stats can come up in bunches, so he could have a 10 rebound or 4 steal night at just the right time for your team.

Why Not? There's no way Sefolosha can continue to start this season. At least, that's what most people around here think. Who knows? He might keep his status if Brooks remains adamant. Also, his three point shooting is atrocious.

Projection: 11th Round

7. Eric Maynor

Key Stats From Last Year: 4 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST

Up or Down: Push

Why? He's still the guaranteed backup point guard, and his distribution abilities have only gotten better with time. In addition, he has a bit of an offensive game now, occasionally able to mix it up from mid-range and in the paint.

Why Not? With Westbrook continuing to get better, there's no way his minutes will increase.

Projection: Just Outside of the Draft

8. Reggie Williams

Key Stats From Last Year: Rookie

Up or Down: Rookie

Why? Williams was drafted potentially a bit below where he should have been, and the Thunder are desperately searching for some offense. He could get a few sparing minutes early on, and might establish a spot for himself if he does well enough. If you're in a rookie league, I'd pick him up if he was around in the late second/early third round.

Why Not? Scott Brooks has not been eager to push rookies into the rotation, ever. Just too much of a question mark, especially on an established team like this.

Projection: Out of the Draft

9. Nick Collison

Key Stats From Last Year: 5 PTS, 56% FG, 5 REB, 1 AST

Up or Down: Push

Why? Nick Collison is pretty much solid as a rock. He'll probably average these stats for the next five years, while missing no more than five games each year. If you want these stats, go for it.

Why Not? Nick Collison will never be anything special stat-wise, unless they start counting charges.

Projection: Just Outside of the Draft

10. Nazr Mohammed

Key Stats From Last Year: 7 PTS, 57% FG, 5 REB,

Up or Down: Down

Why? There's no real reason to think his skill will go down, and when he's on the floor, his role will remain the same.

Why Not? During last year's playoffs, he was almost forgotten as the Thunder shifted to a eight man rotation. Of course, that won't fly during the regular season, but he's still not figuring to be a huge factor in terms of minutes, and Thunder management have been itching to give Cole Aldrich some burn. He might be an alright pickup in deeper leagues, but I wouldn't count on him all season.

Projection: Out of the Draft

11. Daequan Cook

Key Stats From Last Year: 6 PTS, 42% 3PT, 2 REB

Up or Down: Up

Why? He didn't break into the rotation last season until mid-season, so he figures to be more of a factor this season, as he is solidly in the rotation. Did you know he's really good at shooting threes?

Why Not? All he does is shoot threes. If you need threes, select this guy. If not, don't.

Projection: Out of the Draft


The Rest

Potential Gems: Cole Aldrich, Nate Robinson

Aldrich could get minutes over Mohammed and/or Collison, if he's good enough. But he's shown nothing to us so far, and I wouldn't pick him up unless he's actually getting minutes. Robinson will get cut soon, and will probably average much better numbers on a team that will actually play him. His numbers for his second year in Boston should be a good barometer.

Will Certainly Do Nothing: Royal Ivey, Byron Mullens, Robert Vaden

Royal Ivey won't get minutes over Williams, and isn't any better than Sefolosha. He'd only get time in the event of an extreme injury emergency. Byron Mullens has never, ever looked good. Robert Vaden is most likely staying in Europe this season.

What do you think? Which Thunder players are worth it, and which aren't? Post a comment!