The buzzer-beating shots, the daring drives to the rim and the relentless ferocity that Russell Westbrook provided will never be forgotten in Oklahoma City, nor will the success the Thunder had as a team over the last 11 seasons that the point guard stood at the helm.
Westbrook stewarded over one of the most successful extended stretches an NBA franchise has had in recent memory, a legacy that should make Thunder fans all over the state, the country and the world proud.
When described in totality, the Thunder’s accomplishments during the Westbrook era are monumental. Oklahoma City made an NBA Finals appearance in 2012, four Western Conference Finals appearances (2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and won five Northwest Division titles (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016). The Thunder made nine playoff appearances during Westbrook’s tenure that included 107 games. The team went 54-53 (.505) in those contests, and Oklahoma City’s nine playoff appearances this past decade rank as the second most in the NBA during this span, behind only San Antonio.
Westbrook helped lead the Thunder to the 3rd best record in the NBA from the first game played in Oklahoma City on Oct. 29, 2008 through the end of the 2018-19 campaign. In fact, since New Year’s Eve 2008, the Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City, the Thunder has won 62.6 percent of its games, also second-best behind San Antonio in the league during that time.
After the 2008-09 season in which Oklahoma City started 3-29 and won just 23 games, the Thunder found ways to improve the club each year, culminating with a 60-22 record during the 2012-13 season. As a result, Oklahoma City became just the second team in NBA history besides the Boston Celtics from 1955-1960 to increase its winning percentage for five consecutive seasons while maintaining a winning percentage of .700 or better in two of those seasons.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) July 12, 2019
Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season. Only San Antonio (eight seasons with .610 or better winning percentage) has reached that benchmark more during this period. After finishing the 2018-19 season with a record of 49-33, the Thunder is now one of three teams besides Houston and San Antonio to maintain a .500 or better record in each of the last 10 seasons.
Westbrook’s historic MVP season and the unbelievable triple-double average he’s compiled for the past three seasons have shown the impact he was able to make on NBA narratives, the voters, the stat sheet and the history books. What has been even more influential to Oklahoma City, however, is the control Westbrook showed in the most important department to him and to Thunder fans every night: winning.