Oklahoma City Thunder's on-court success reflected in ESPN player rankings

Nine players from the 2011-12 Thunder roster have a higher individual ranking this season.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: September 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm •  Published: September 29, 2012
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The annual NBA player rankings conducted by ESPN.com directly coincide with the Thunder's rise in the league.

Nine players from the 2011-12 Thunder roster have a higher individual ranking this season.

A panel of 104 members from ESPN, TrueHoop and Daily Dime, were asked to rank each NBA player on a 1 to 10 scale in evaluating "the current quality of player."

In order for OKC, small forward Kevin Durant (No. 2), point guard Russell Westbrook (No. 9), shooting guard James Harden (No. 26), power forward Serge Ibaka (No. 41), power forward Nick Collison (No. 100), small forward Thabo Sefolosha (No. 117), guard Reggie Jackson (No. 343), forward Lazar Hayward (No. 383) and center Cole Aldrich (No. 390) are all ranked higher than one year ago.

Center Kendrick Perkins, who had offseason surgeries to his groin and left wrist, dropped to No. 120. Point guard Eric Maynor, who played just nine games last year after suffering a season-ending knee injury, dropped to No. 190, while shooting guard Daequan Cook dropped slightly to No. 286.

Rookie forward Perry Jones came in at No. 306, while free agent center Hasheem Thabeet came in at No. 443 and free agent rookie forward Hollis Thompson is No. 496.

In the NBA team power rankings by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Thunder was ranked No. 3 behind the defending world champion Miami Heat at No. 1 and the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2.

Predictably, the rankings quickly spurred debate via Twitter and crowded message boards, which can be viewed at #NBArank on the espn.com website.

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THUNDER KEY DATES

Monday – Media Day

Tuesday – Training camp begins

Oct. 10 – Preseason opener vs. Houston at Hidalgo, Texas

Oct. 30 – NBA regular season begins

Oct. 31 – Extension deadline for rookie contracts (James Harden and Eric Maynor)

Nov. 1 – Regular-season opener at San Antonio

Nov. 2 – Home opener vs. Portland

Jan. 7 – 10-day contracts can be signed

Jan. 10 – All contracts guaranteed for season

Feb. 15-17 – All-Star Weekend in Houston

Feb. 21 – Trade deadline (2 p.m. CT)

April 20 – Playoffs begin

June 6 – Finals begin (possible move-up to June 4)

June 20 – Last possible date for Finals (possible move-up to June 18)

June 27 – 2013 NBA Draft

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