2010–11 Oklahoma City Thunder season

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2010–11 Oklahoma City Thunder season
Head coach Scott Brooks
General manager Sam Presti
Owner(s) Professional Basketball Club LLC
Clay Bennett (Chairman)
Arena Oklahoma City Arena
Results
Record 55–27 (.671)
Place Division: 1st (Northwest)
Conference: 4th (Western)
Playoff finish West Conference Finals
(eliminated 1-4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Local media
Television Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio WWLS-AM and FM
< 2009–10 2011–12 >

The 2010–11 Oklahoma City Thunder season was the 3rd season of the franchise's existence in Oklahoma City as a member of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise built on its prior success from the previous year, winning 55 regular-season games and reaching the Western Conference finals – in the process becoming the second-youngest team ever to do so.

Key dates[edit]

  • June 24 – The 2010 NBA Draft in New York City
  • July 1 – The free agency negotiation period begins
  • July 8 – First day NBA free agents can sign new contracts; Prior conditional free agent trades can be finalized
  • July 16 – First round draft picks become free agents if not given a required tender
  • July 23 – Last day to withdraw a qualifying offer to a restricted free agent without the player's consent
  • August 15 – Players waived on or after this date remain on waivers for 48 hours
  • September 6 – Second round draft picks become free agents if not given a required tender
  • October 1 – Last day to sign replacement player with Disabled Player exception if the player was injured from December 1 to June 30 and will be out for the season
  • November 1 – Last day to exercise option years on scale contracts; Last day contracts can be extended
  • December 15 – Players who signed a contract on or before September 15 can be traded
  • February 24 – Trade deadline
  • March 1 – Contract renegotiations must be completed before this date
  • April 24 – Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 p.m. ET)
  • June 13 – Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5:00 p.m. ET)

Players[edit]

Team roster[edit]

Oklahoma City Thunder roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY–MM–DD) From
C 45 United States Aldrich, Cole 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Kansas
F/C 4 United States Collison, Nick 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Kansas
G 14 United States Cook, Daequan 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Ohio State
G/F 35 United States Durant, Kevin (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Texas
G 13 United States Harden, James 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Arizona State
F 9 Democratic Republic of the Congo Ibaka, Serge 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 265 lb (120 kg) Democratic Republic of the Congo
G 7 United States Ivey, Royal 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Texas
G 6 United States Maynor, Eric 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Virginia Commonwealth
C 8 Saudi Arabia Mohammed, Nazr 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 250 lb (113 kg) Kentucky
C 23 United Kingdom Mullens, Byron 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 275 lb (125 kg) Ohio State
C 5 United States Perkins, Kendrick 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 280 lb (127 kg) CJOHS
G 3 United States Robinson, Nate 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Washington
G/F 2 Switzerland Sefolosha, Thabo 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Switzerland
G/F 30 United States Vaden, Robert 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Alabama–Birmingham
G 0 United States Westbrook, Russell (C) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 187 lb (85 kg) UCLA
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Depth chart[edit]

As of end of season:

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Kendrick Perkins Nazr Mohammed Cole Aldrich
Byron Mullens
PF Serge Ibaka Nick Collison
SF Kevin Durant Daequan Cook
SG Thabo Sefolosha James Harden Robert Vaden<
PG Russell Westbrook Eric Maynor Royal Ivey
Nate Robinson

2010–11 Salaries[edit]

Player 2010–11 Salary
Nick Collison $13,720,000
Nazr Mohammed $6,883,800
Kendrick Perkins $6,446,720
Kevin Durant $6,053,663
James Harden $4,304,520
Nate Robinson $4,200,000
Russell Westbrook $4,017,720
Thabo Sefolosha $3,000,000
Daequan Cook $2,169,856
Cole Aldrich $2,126,520
Eric Maynor $1,417,800
Byron Mullens $1,204,200
Serge Ibaka $1,204,200
Royal Ivey $1,069,509
Robert Vaden $57,884
TOTAL $57,876,392

Sources:

  • HoopsHype: OKC Salaries[1]
  • HoopsWorld: OKC Salaries[2]
  • ESPN: OKC Roster[3]

Offseason[edit]

International participation[edit]

Durant after receiving the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship

In February 2010, the USA National Basketball Team named Thunder players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to the 27-man national team roster for 2010–12.[4] From July 19–24, 2010, Durant, Westbrook and Jeff Green each attended tryout camp in Las Vegas for inclusion on the 12-man USA National Team roster at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, to take place from August 28 to September 12, 2010 in Turkey.[5][6] In late July, Durant, Westbrook and Green were each named to the narrowed 15-man USA Team roster, which participated in additional workouts August 9–16 in New York City.[7] On August 15, 2010, Westbrook and Durant were named to the narrowed 13-man roster, which competed from August 17–20 in Madrid, Spain.[8] On August 24, 2010, the final 12-man roster was effectively determined when USA Basketball member Rajon Rondo withdrew from Team USA.[9] This made Durant and Westbrook the only members of Team USA from the same NBA squad. In addition, Thunder athletic trainer Joe Sharpe also traveled as a team assistant.[10] Thunder players participating on other FIBA teams included Nenad Krstić[11] (who was suspended for Serbia's first three games following a chair-throwing incident in a tune-up match against Greece at the Acropolis Tournament on August 19),[12] and Tibor Pleiß for Germany.[13]

At the 2010 FIBA tournament, Team USA won the championship game against Turkey, and Serbia ended the tournament in fourth place.[14] Germany did not advance to the elimination-round phase of the comptetiion. Durant was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, and was also a first-team All-Tournament selection.[15] For his efforts, Durant was also awarded the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year award by USA Basketball.[16]

Coaching/Staff changes[edit]

Just before the end of the 2010 playoffs, the Thunder announced that the team had exercised extension rights on its contract with Coach Scott Brooks, keeping him under contract through the 2011–12 season.[17] Under the contract, Brooks earns in excess of $1.5 million per season.[18] Later, on July 22, 2010, the team announced signing its General Manager Sam Presti to a multi-year deal, terms of which were not disclosed.[19][20]

Assistant coaching and staff positions, however, changed over the summer. In late June, Thunder assistant coach Ron Adams took a similar position with the Chicago Bulls under their new head coach Tom Thibodeau.[21] As of July, the Thunder had no immediate plans to directly replace Adams.[22] On August 24, 2010, the Thunder added former international coach Maz Trakh as an assistant coach in charge of player development, in addition to confirming the retention of remaining assistant coaches Maurice Cheeks, Mark Bryant, Rex Kalamian, and Brian Keefe.[23]

On July 19, 2010, Thunder Assistant General Manager Rich Cho left to take the vacant General Manager's position with the Portland Trail Blazers.[21] Former Thunder Director of Pro Personnel Bill Branch also joined Cho in Portland.[24] The Thunder subsequently promoted Troy Weaver to vice president/assistant general manager, Rob Hennigan to assistant general manager/player personnel, Paul Rivers to director of minor league operations and basketball technology and Brandon Barnett to director of minor league scouting and manager of minor league operations.[24] At the same time, the Thunder announced the additions of Michael Winger as Assistant General Manager for Legal/Administration, and David Vanterpool as a scout.[24]

Training[edit]

The Thunder attended the Orlando Pro Summer League from July 5–9, 2010,[25] during which the team won four games and lost one.[26] No Thunder starters were assigned to Orlando; Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor were the most experienced players on the summer roster. The Thunder also signed forward Marcus Lewis and guard Cliff Hammonds as free agents on the summer roster.[27] Both Durant[28] and Daequan Cook[29] attended the event and participated in informal workouts. Harden averaged 17.5 points over five games, good for fifth in the summer league standings.[30] Maynor averaged 5.0 assists over three games, good for fourth.[30]

Promotion and media news[edit]

In June 2010, Durant and teammate James Harden completed a week-long promotional tour of China sponsored by Nike.[25] Durant was also unveiled as the featured athlete on the cover of EA Sports' video game NBA Elite 11.[31]

On August 3, 2010, the Thunder announced a multi-year contract granting FOX Sports Southwest the exclusive rights to regional television broadcasts of Thunder games.[32]

On August 26, 2010, the Thunder organization announced that it would exercise its right to re-open naming rights negotiations for the Ford Center, which effectively guarantees a name change for the facility in the near future.[33]

Thunder players Durant, Krstić, and Thabo Sefolosha were featured on the October 19, 2010 cover of Sports Illustrated's 2010 NBA Preview edition, with an accompanying feature article by SI Correspondent Lee Jenkins.[34]

Draft acquisitions[edit]

Main article: 2010 NBA Draft

Heading into the week of the 2010 draft, the Thunder held rights to four draft selections:

On June 23, 2010, the Thunder traded their rights to the #32 overall pick to the Miami Heat in exchange for the #18 overall pick and the rights to shooting guard Daequan Cook.[39][40]

On draft day, June 24, 2010, the Thunder acquired shooting guard Eric Bledsoe from Kentucky with the 18th pick. With the 21st pick, the Thunder acquired power forward Craig Brackins from Iowa State. With the 26th pick, the Thunder acquired forward Quincy Pondexter from Washington. With the 51st pick, the Thunder acquired center Magnum Rolle from Louisiana Tech.

However, each of these draft acquisitions was subjected to a trade on draft day:

  • The Thunder agreed to acquire Morris Peterson and the draft rights to 11th overall pick Cole Aldrich from New Orleans in exchange for the draft rights to Brackins and Pondexter.[41][42][43] The deal was finalized after the expiration of the NBA free agent trade moratorium on July 8, 2010.[44]
  • The L.A. Clippers acquired the draft rights to Bledsoe in exchange for a conditional (top-ten protected) first-round pick in 2012.[22][45]
  • The Indiana Pacers acquired the draft rights to Rolle in exchange for the draft rights to 57th pick Ryan Reid of Florida State and cash consideration.[46]

In addition:

Draft summary table[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 11 Cole Aldrich from New Orleans[41][42][43][44] Center  United States Kansas
1 18 Eric Bledsoe to Clippers[45] Shooting Guard  United States Kentucky
1 21 Craig Brackins to New Orleans[41][42][43][44] Power Forward  United States Iowa State
1 26 Quincy Pondexter to New Orleans[41][42][43][44] Small Forward  United States Washington
2 31 Tibor Pleiß from Atlanta[46] Center  Germany Brose Baskets (Germany)
2 48 Latavious Williams from Miami[46] Power Forward  United States Tulsa 66ers (NBA Developmental League)
2 51 Magnum Rolle to Indiana[46] Center  United States Louisiana Tech
2 57 Ryan Reid from Indiana[46] Power Forward  United States Florida State

Pre-season[edit]

Summary[edit]

The Thunder's pre-season training camp opened on September 28, 2010, with the temporary roster addition of guards Demond "Tweety" Carter, Jerome Dyson and Elijah Milsap,[47] as well as center Longar Longar.[48] Carter and Longar were subsequently waived and removed from the roster on October 15, 2010, after one pre-season appearance each.[49] The Thunder's final two pre-season roster additions, Dyson and Millsap, were waived on October 20, 2010 – leaving the team roster at the required 15 members heading into the regular season.[50]

Game log[edit]

2010 pre-season game log
2010–11 season schedule

Regular season[edit]

Summary[edit]

The Thunder's playoff run in 2009–10 fueled early-season interest for 2010–11. The team's regular-season schedule, released on August 10, 2010, revealed fifteen nationally televised games, up from three in the previous year.[51] The Thunder also ranked among the NBA's top five teams in new season ticket sales heading into the year.[52] This was in addition to a 93% renewal rate for season tickets from the previous year, well above the NBA average of 80%.[53]

The Thunder began their regular season at home against the Chicago Bulls with an Opening Night promotion that included outdoor entertainment, a new magazine publication, and a blue-attire theme.[54] The Thunder won the opening game, 106 to 95.

The first two months of the season saw mixed, but generally positive results for the Thunder. Through December 10, 2010, the Thunder played a schedule which statistically ranked #5 in the NBA, and #3 in the Western Conference.[55] Despite this, the team logged a .667 winning percentage over the period. Kevin Durant led the NBA in scoring over the period at 27.45 points per game, although he missed four games due to injury (the Thunder were 3–1 in those games). The early season was highlighted by strong performances by Russell Westbrook (who at 23.95 points per game improved his scoring average by almost 8 points per game compared to 2009–2010)[56] and Serge Ibaka (who saw his playing time increase to over 27 minutes per game and was near the top of the league in blocks).[57]

By the midway point in the season, the Thunder's cumulative team free-throw percentage stood at .83116, just slightly off the pace of the all-time NBA single-season record of .83186, set by the 1989–90 Boston Celtics.[58] The team's three-point shooting, however, lagged behind other offensive categories; by early February, the team's cumulative three-point percentage was 32.8%, third-worst in the league.[59] The Thunder's 27–14 record at the midpoint of the season was largely attributable to a potent offense (103.7 points per game, sixth in the NBA) making up for subpar defensive performance (102 opponents' points per game, 20th in the NBA).[60] As of the All-Star break, the Thunder were rated #6 in the NBA's power ranking system, with a comparatively easy schedule over the remaining course of the season.[61]

Through the first half of the season, the Thunder's rotation stayed relatively constant, with a starting five of:

  • PG: Russell Westbrook
  • SG: Thabo Sefolosha
  • SF: Kevin Durant
  • PF: Jeff Green
  • C: Nenad Krstić

Except for periodic injuries, the starting rotation did not change until after the trading deadline on February 24, 2011. In various combinations, the Thunder generally used a nine-man rotation through January 2011, providing reserves Ibaka, Maynor, Harden and Nick Collison with significant playing time. During four games when Durant was out of the lineup with injury, the Thunder often utilized a lineup which simultaneously featured Green at the small forward spot with Ibaka at power forward, a combination featured more often as the early season unfolded. Starting with the January 28, 2011 game against Washington, shooting guard Daequan Cook began receiving significant minutes in the rotation, allowing the Thunder to substitute an entirely new second string on multiple occasions. This combination sparked some notable Thunder streaks, including the February 5 game against Utah[62] and the February 15 game against Sacramento.[63]

The starting rotation changed significantly after the February 24, 2011, trading deadline. In two deals made on that date, the Thunder sent starters Jeff Green and Nenad Krstić to the Boston Celtics, and acquired eventual starter at center Kendrick Perkins, backup center Nazr Mohammed, and backup point guard Nate Robinson. Perkins was unable to start immediately after his acquisition due to a left knee sprain suffered on February 22. In games on February 25 and 27, the Thunder elevated Ibaka and Collison into the starting rotation at power forward and center, respectively.

The immediate post-trade lineup shuffle resulted in the team's only three-game losing streak of the season, from February 23–27. This stretch, however, did include some bright spots, including a competitive performance against the Lakers on February 27 in which Cole Aldrich registered his best performance of the year. On March 2, Mohammed replaced Collison as starting center.[64]

The starting lineup changed again on March 14 with the insertion of Kendrick Perkins at starting center.[65] This solidified the starting lineup for the stretch run of the regular season as:

  • PG: Russell Westbrook
  • SG: Thabo Sefolosha
  • SF: Kevin Durant
  • PF: Serge Ibaka
  • C: Kendrick Perkins

The most immediate beneficiary of the new lineup, however, was sixth man James Harden, who in the first 15 games after the All-Star break increased his scoring average from 10.3 to 17.7 points per game.[66] The new lineup's first major test came in the March 16, 2011 game at Miami, which the Thunder won due to a shutdown defensive performance in the second half. Subsequently the team was cited for lackluster play in a four-game stretch from March 18–25, but afterward put in an energetic performance against Portland at home on March 27, a win which clinched a playoff berth for the franchise for the second year in a row. The team subsequently clinched the Northwest Division championship with its April 6 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers.[67]

The contributions of Cook and Harden in the second half of the season, combined with improved three-point shooting from Westbrook,[68] allowed the team to bring its overall three-point shooting percentage to 34.7% by the end of the regular season, good for 19th in the league.[69] Although the Thunder ended up leading the NBA in free-throw percentage at 82.3%, this number did not displace the 1989–90 Celtics record.[69]

The Thunder were still in contention for a #2 overall playoff seed by the time of their last regular season game on April 13 against Milwaukee, the pre-game ceremonies for which featured the unveiling of a Northwest Division championship banner.[70] However, the Thunder's overtime loss in that game, in which the starting rotation played limited minutes, guaranteed the overall #4 seed in the Western Conference and a first-round playoff matchup with the #5-seed Denver Nuggets. The Thunder ended the season with 55 wins, five more than the 2009–10 season. Overall during the regular season, they averaged 104.83 points per game (good for fifth in the league) while limiting opponents to 101.04 points per game (18th in the league).[69]

Attendance at Thunder regular season games continued to be strong in 2010–11. Despite having one of the smaller arenas in the NBA, the Thunder drew an average of 18,148 spectators per contest, ranking 13th in the league.[71] This translated into 99.7% of the overall capacity of the 18,203-seat Oklahoma City Arena, ranking 8th in the league.[71]

Promotion and media news[edit]

In March 2011, the Thunder were named to Fast Company Magazine's list of the Ten Most Innovative Companies in Sports, ranked at #6.[72][73]

In merchandising sales figures released by the NBA on April 13, 2011, the Thunder as a team generated the sixth-most jersey sales of all NBA teams; in addition, Kevin Durant's individual jersey ranked as the seventh-most popular in the NBA.[74]

In the May/June 2011 issue of Dime Magazine, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were featured on the cover and named "The NBA's best duo since Shaq and Kobe."[75]

Standings[edit]

Division[edit]

Northwest Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Oklahoma City Thunder 55 27 .671 30–11 25–16 13–3
x-Denver Nuggets 50 32 .610 5 33–8 17–24 9–7
x-Portland Trail Blazers 48 34 .585 7 30–11 18–23 10–6
Utah Jazz 39 43 .476 16 21–20 18–23 7–9
Minnesota Timberwolves 17 65 .207 38 12–29 5–36 1–15

Conference[edit]

# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-San Antonio Spurs 61 21 .744
2 x-Los Angeles Lakers 57 25 .695 4
3 y-Dallas Mavericks 57 25 .695 4
4 y-Oklahoma City Thunder 55 27 .671 6
5 x-Denver Nuggets 50 32 .610 11
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 48 34 .585 13
7 x-New Orleans Hornets 46 36 .561 15
8 x-Memphis Grizzlies 46 36 .561 15
9 Houston Rockets 43 39 .524 18
10 Phoenix Suns 40 42 .488 21
11 Utah Jazz 39 43 .476 22
12 Golden State Warriors 36 46 .439 25
13 Los Angeles Clippers 32 50 .390 29
14 Sacramento Kings 24 58 .293 37
15 Minnesota Timberwolves 17 65 .207 44

c - clinched regular-season conference lead
x - clinched playoff spot
y - clinched division

Game log[edit]

2010–11 game log Total: 55–27 (Home: 30–11; Road: 25–16)
2010–11 season schedule

Playoffs[edit]

Summary[edit]

First round[edit]

The opening series of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets was given extra attention when Denver coach George Karl described the Thunder team as "cocky" in comments made before the series.[76] Game 1 of the series featured promotions similar to the "Opening Night" of the regular season, including a "blue-out" t-shirt giveaway and a "Thunder Alley" entertainment venue outside the arena.[76] The crowd atmosphere for Game One was loud enough that it reportedly made Karl's six-year old daughter cry.[76] The game itself was highly comeptitive, featuring nine ties and nine lead changes.[77] The Thunder's eventual 107-103 victory was aided by a basket occurring with just over one minute left in the game by Kendrick Perkins, which the NBA later admitted should have resulted in an offensive goaltending call.[78] After a relatively easy Game 2 at home, the Thunder earned a hard-fought 97-94 victory in Game 3 at Denver, behind the remarkable performance of Serge Ibaka, who logged a career-high 22 points along with 16 rebounds.[79] Denver avoided elimination in a Game 4 contest in which the Thunder's Russell Westbrook was criticized for selfish play in a 12-for-30 shooting performance.[80] The Thunder finished the series in Game 5 by winning a dramatic comeback at home, which featured Kevin Durant scoring 16 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter.[81]

Conference semifinals[edit]

The second round of the playoffs matched the Thunder against the Memphis Grizzlies, who had upset the #1-seeded San Antonio Spurs in a six-game series. Memphis dominated Game 1 in Oklahoma City behind a combined 54-point, 23-rebound performance by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.[82] The Thunder's front court was able to play more aggressive defense against the duo in Game 2, leading to a 111-102 Thunder victory to tie the series.[83] The next two games of the series in Memphis developed similalry but ended in different results. In Game 3, the Thunder surrendered a 16-point lead late in the third quarter, with the Grizzlies eventually tying the game in regulation and winning the game in overtime.[84] In Game 4, the Thunder allowed Memphis to come back from a 10-point deficit with 5:25 remaining; afterward, the Thunder were unable to convert last-second shots in regulation and each of the first two overtime periods, before eventually pulling out a 133-123 win in triple overtime.[85] Fatigue from this contest appeared to effect the Grizzlies in Game 5, who were limited to just 36% shooting in a runaway 99-72 Thunder victory.[86] Oklahoma City led by 19 points at the end of the third quarter, allowing the team to rest most of its starters for the final period. The rest did not benefit the Thunder in Game 6, however, in which Kevin Durant was limited to just 11 points; by contrast, Memphis' Zach Randolph scored 30 points en route to a 95-83 Memphis victory, forcing a decisive Game 7 in Oklahoma City.[87] The Thunder were able to clinch the playoff series in Game 7, however, benefitting from a 39-point performance from Durant as well as a triple-double performance by Westbrook.[88]

Conference finals[edit]

The Western Conference finals pitted the Thunder against the Dallas Mavericks, who had previously swept the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in four games, allowing the Mavericks the advantage of eight days rest heading into the series. Game 1 of the conference finals saw the Thunder accumulate as much as a nine-point lead in the third quarter, but ultimately collapse under the pressure of a 48-point performance by Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and timely three-point shooting by reserve guard J.J. Barea.[89] Nowitzki's performance included an NBA-record for consecutive free throws in a game; he was a perfect 24-for-24 from the line. Oklahoma City evened the series in Game 2, where the Thunder bench scored 50 points and played much of the decisive fourth quarter.[90] In Game 3, Dallas' defensive effort forced 14 turnovers by the Thunder, eventually opening up a 23-point Dallas lead before holding off a late Thunder charge in a 93-87 win.[91] Game 4 unfolded positively for the Thunder through most of the contest, with the team enjoying a 15-point advantage with 4:49 remaining in the fourth quarter, having built on a large statistical lead in rebounds, assists, blocks, and points in the paint.[92] However, the Thunder suffered from 25 turnovers in the contest, and their offense evaporated in the final five minutes, shooting 1-10 from the field, as Dallas went on a 17-2 run to tie the game in regulation, 101-101.[93] The Mavericks eventually won the game in overtime, 112-105, sending the Thunder back to Dallas down 3-1 in the series. The Thunder season then came to an end on May 25, 2011 in a hard-fought loss at Dallas, 100-96.[94]

Promotion and media news[edit]

The Thunder's 2011 playoff appearances generated several new records for television ratings of individual Thunder games within the OKC market. Prior to 2011, the highest-rated Thunder game had been Game 6 against the Lakers in the 2010 playoffs (generating a cumulative 21.4 rating in OKC households among two broadcasts). In 2011, Game 6 of the Memphis series generated a 22.5 share; Game 7 generated a 23.4 share; Game 5 generated a 24.0 share; and Game 1 of the Mavericks series generated a 24.8 share.[95]

During the 2011 NBA Playoffs, Kevin Durant was featured in national television commercials for Gatorade's "G-Series" sports drink line, with one such commercial incorporating teammates Nate Robinson, Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and Royal Ivey.[96]

Game log[edit]

2011 playoff game log
2011 playoff schedule

Post-season[edit]

Despite a frustrating series against the Dallas Mavericks to end the season, community spirit surrounding the Thunder remained high after the season. An estimated 500 fans greeted the team's private charter flight as it arrived in Oklahoma City at 1:00 a.m. the night of the Thunder's final loss.[97]

After the conclusion of the season, several Thunder players appeared at three different youth camps hosted by the team at various locations around the OKC area in June, until the NBA lockout prohibited players from appearing at Thunder camps after June 30.[98] Kevin Durant hosted his own camp from June 29–30 in OKC, and from July 1–2 in Austin, Texas.[99]

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game

Regular season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Cole Aldrich 18 0 7.9 .533 .0 .500 1.9 .2 .28 .39 1.0
Nick Collison 71 2 21.5 .566 .0 .753 4.5 1.0 .59 .44 4.6
Daequan Cook 43 0 13.9 .436 .422 .800 1.7 .55 .33 .02 5.6
Kevin Durant 78 78 38.9 .462 .350 .880 6.8 2.7 1.13 0.97 27.7
Jeff Green* 49 49 37.0 .437 .304 .818 5.6 1.8 .8 .4 15.2
James Harden 82 5 26.7 .436 .349 .843 3.1 2.1 1.12 .29 12.2
Serge Ibaka 82 44 27.0 .543 .0 .750 7.6 0.3 .38 2.41 9.9
Royal Ivey 25 0 6.2 .421 .438 1.0 .6 .3 .24 .04 1.6
Nenad Krstić* 47 47 21.7 .498 .0 .803 4.4 .4 .4 .4 7.6
Eric Maynor 82 0 14.6 .402 .385 .729 1.5 2.9 .4 .1 4.2
Nazr Mohammed* 24 7 17.9 .573 .0 .625 4.8 0.3 .7 .4 6.9
Byron Mullens 13 0 6.5 .321 .0 .500 1.8 .0 .2 .2 1.9
Kendrick Perkins* 17 17 25.2 .493 .000 .531 7.9 .9 .4 .9 5.1
Morris Peterson* 4 0 5.8 .400 .000 .0 .8 .3 .0 .0 1.0
Nate Robinson* 4 0 7.5 .267 .250 .750 .3 1.5 .0 .0 3.3
Thabo Sefolosha 79 79 25.9 .471 .275 .747 4.4 1.4 1.2 .5 5.1
Russell Westbrook 82 82 34.7 .442 .330 .842 4.6 8.2 1.9 .4 21.9
D.J. White* 23 0 9.5 .462 .0 .500 2.3 .2 .3 .3 2.8
     Led team

* - Stats with Thunder (partial season)

Sources: OKC Thunder 2010–11 Statistics[100][101]

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Nick Collison 17 .0 24.3 .632 .0 .783 5.8 .9 .88 .88 6.7
Daequan Cook 17 .0 11.5 .393 .348 1.000 1.6 .1 .18 .0 3.8
Kevin Durant 17 17 42.5 .449 .339 .838 8.2 2.8 .94 1.12 28.6
James Harden 17 .0 31.6 .475 .303 .825 5.4 3.6 1.24 .76 13.0
Serge Ibaka 17 17 28.8 .462 .0 .825 7.3 0.2 .24 3.06 9.8
Royal Ivey 2 0 3.0 1.000 1.000 .0 .5 .5 .0 .0 3.0
Eric Maynor 17 .0 12.9 .377 .36 .789 1.3 2.2 .53 .0 4.8
Nazr Mohammed 14 .0 10.6 .412 .0 .400 2.3 .0 .29 .43 2.3
Kendrick Perkins 17 17 28.2 .453 .0 .576 6.1 .8 .24 .76 4.5
Nate Robinson 3 .0 4.0 .286 .333 1.000 .0 .3 .0 .0 2.7
Thabo Sefolosha 17 17 20.2 .463 .154 1.000 3.1 .7 .94 .29 4.6
Russell Westbrook 17 17 37.5 .394 .292 .852 5.4 6.4 1.41 .35 23.8
     Led team

Source: OKC Thunder 2011 Playoff Statistics[102]

Awards, records and milestones[edit]

Awards[edit]

Weekly[edit]

Monthly[edit]

All-Star[edit]

  • Thunder players Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Thabo Sefolosha, and Russell Westbrook were designated for placement on the NBA ballot for the 2011 All-Star Game, to be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 20, 2011.[111]
  • On February 27, 2011, Durant was named as a starter to the Western Conference All-Star team, having received 1,736,728 total votes – the most of any forward, and second only to Kobe Bryant in overall voting among Western Conference players. It was Durant's second All-Star appearance overall, and first as a starter.[112] During the game Durant scored 34 points, second-most to Kobe Bryant's 37-point effort.[113] Durant was also named as one of six participants in the All-Star weekend's Three-Point Shooting Contest held the night before the All-Star Game,[114] although he did not advance out of the preliminary round.[115]
  • Russell Westbrook was selected as an All-Star team reserve by a vote of the Western Conference coaches. It was his first All-Star appearance.[116] Westbrook scored 12 points in the game.[113] Westbrook was also voted by online fan ballot to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge held the night before the All-Star Game.[117] Westbrook advanced to the finals of the competition, placing second to Stephen Curry.[118]
  • Forward Serge Ibaka was named as a first-time participant for the 2011 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.[119] Durant was assigned as Ibaka's official coach for the competition.[120] Although Ibaka did not advance out of the preliminary round, he made an impression with his two efforts – a running dunk from the free-throw line and a dunk in which he simultaneously grabbed a "Rumble" mascot doll off the rim with his teeth.[121] Ibaka was also named to the Sopohomore Team roster in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge,[122] in which he registered 14 points and two blocked shots.[123]

Season[edit]

  • At the close of the regular season, forward Kevin Durant clinched his second-consecutive NBA scoring title, averaging 27.7 points per game. In the process, he surpassed Bob McAdoo as the youngest NBA player to earn two scoring titles.[110]
  • On April 20, 2011, Kevin Durant was given the Magic Johnson Award by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, recognizing the combination of Durant's on-court performance and openness with the media during the course of the regular season.[125]
  • Kevin Durant received recognition on the All-NBA First Team at the end of the year. Russell Westbrook received recognition on the All-NBA Second Team.[126]

Records[edit]

Milestones[edit]

  • The Thunder's January 22, 2011 win over the New York Knicks was Scott Brooks' 100th win as an NBA head coach, all with the Thunder.[127]
  • During the March 11, 2011 game against Detroit, Russell Westbrook scored the 4,000th point of his NBA career, becoming one of only five players in NBA history to log 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds in their first three years.[128]
  • The March 18, 2011 game against Charlotte was Kevin Durant's 300th game in the NBA.[129] Among active players, Durant rates third in points scored during the first 300 games, with 7,760 total points.

Injuries and surgeries[edit]

  • Center Nenad Krstić underwent surgery on September 21, 2010 to repair a fracture to his right middle finger, suffered in the final game of the FIBA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, against Lithuania. His recovery allowed him to see playing time in the Thunder's regular-season debut on October 27, 2010 and subsequent games.[130] Back spasms forced him to sit out games on November 26 and 28,[131] and again from December 10 through December 22.[132][133] After the January 26 game against Minnesota, Krstić developed a sore right foot[134] which was subsequently aggravated in the February 2 game against New Orleans.[135] Neither condition forced him to miss a start, however.
  • Forward Nick Collison was rested for the beginning of the team's 2010 pre-season training camp after suffering a bruised bone in his left knee.[136] Collison previously had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after the close of the 2009-10 season.[137] After a complicating stress reaction in his left leg, Collison began the regular season on the inactive list, where he remained until November 14, 2010.[138] Collison later suffered ankle sprains in games on March 13 and 27, forcing him to sit out the contest against Golden State on March 29.[72]
  • Forward Jeff Green suffered a sprained left ankle in practice on November 6, 2010, forcing his placement on the inactive list for games from November 7 through November 12.[139][140] After aggravating the injury against the San Antonio Spurs on November 14, Green was withheld from action in games from November 15 through November 20.[141]
  • Kevin Durant suffered a left ankle sprain in the game against Houston on November 17, limiting his action in that game and forcing him to sit out subsequent games against Boston on November 19 and Milwaukee on November 20.[142][143] Durant subsequently sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter of the November 29 game against New Orleans, forcing him onto the inactive list for games on December 1 and 3.[144][145]
  • Rookie Cole Aldrich was sidelined with a left rib contusion for games on December 10 and 12.[132]
  • Guard Eric Maynor suffered a sprained right foot on January 1, 2011, but did not miss subsequent game action.[146]
  • Guard Thabo Sefolosha suffered a sprained knee after the Thunder's game on January 26, and missed subsequent games through February 2.[147]
  • Center Kendrick Perkins suffered a left knee sprain in the final game prior to being traded to the Thunder on February 24, 2011.[148] While separate from the ligament injury to his right knee which kept Perkins out much of the 2010-11 season, the sprain kept Perkins out of the lineup until March 14.[65]
  • Point guard Nate Robinson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on March 4, 2011 after experiencing discomfort following practice on February 28. He is expected to miss 4–6 weeks, which would place his return near the end of the regular season.[149] Robinson was placed back on the active roster for the March 29 game against Golden State, but did not play.[72]
  • Forward Serge Ibaka sprained his left ankle in Game 2 of the Memphis Grizzlies playoff series, and re-aggravated the same injury in Game 3. This forced him to miss practice time on May 5, and limited his minutes in subsequent games.[150]

Transactions[edit]

Current Roster[edit]

  • On July 8, 2010, the Thunder signed current forward and All-Star Kevin Durant to a five-year contract extension.[151] Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed.[152] According to Durant's representatives, however, the deal is an NBA maximum contract for the years 2011–12 through 2015–16, with no opt-out provisions.[153] Given the NBA's team salary cap of $58.044 million announced in July 2010,[154] that would place Durant's 2011–12 salary at $14,511,000 — plus 30% deferred compensation, for a total of $18,864,300 — with 5% increases in each succeeding year.[155]
  • On October 25, the Thunder exercised its third-year contract option on guards James Harden and Eric Maynor, as well as forward Serge Ibaka and center Byron Mullens; the team also exercised its fourth-year contract option on guard Russell Westbrook and forward D. J. White.[157]
  • The Thunder and forward Jeff Green were unable to reach a contract extension deal by the November 1 deadline, making Green a restricted free agent after 2010–11.[158]
  • On November 23, 2010, the Thunder announced a multi-year contract extension with forward Nick Collision.[159] Under the contract, Collison receives $6.5 million as a signing bonus (for a total compensation in 2010–11 of $13,250,000), plus $3,272,997 in 2011–12, $2,929,332 in 2012–13, $2,585,668 in 2013–14, and $2,242,003 in 2014–15.[160]
  • On November 24, 2010, the Thunder assigned rookie center Cole Aldrich to the team's NBA D-League team, the Tulsa 66ers.[161] He had previously appeared in five games for the Thunder, averaging 9.6 minutes per game.[160] Aldrich was recalled to the Thunder on December 6, 2010, after averaging 7.8 points in five games with the 66ers.[162] He was then reassigned to Tulsa on December 30, 2010,[163] and later recalled to the Thunder for the team's game on February 2, 2011. Aldrich replaced Byron Mullens on the 66ers roster again on March 30, 2011, beginning his third and final assignment to the club for 2010-11[164] He was recalled for the final time to the Thunder roster on April 13, after posting averages of 10.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game over his 21 cumulative starts for Tulsa.[165]
  • On December 10, 2010, the Thunder assigned Byron Mullens to the Tulsa 66ers.[166] After injuries to fellow centers Nenad Krstić and Cole Aldrich, Mullens was quickly recalled for the Thunder's game on December 12 after only one game with Tulsa.[167] Mullens saw moderate floor time in five games with the Thunder during Krstić's absence, but played sparingly thereafter. Following the recall of Aldrich from Tulsa, Mullens was reassigned to the 66ers on February 3, 2011.[168] He was recalled to the Thunder after the team's trades on February 24, 2011 opened up a roster spot.[169] Collectively in his first two stints at Tulsa, Mullens averaged 16.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.[169] On March 10, the Thunder assigned Mullens to the 66ers for a third time, the final assignment allowed under NBA rules.[170] This assignment ended on March 27, at which time he was reassirned to the regular Thunder roster.[171] Cumulatively during Mullens' time with Tulsa, he played in and started fourteen games, averaging 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.[171]
  • On March 1, 2011, the Thunder announced that the team had signed center Kendrick Perkins (whom the team had acquired in a trade the previous week) to a multi-year contract extension.[172] Terms of the deal were not officially disclosed, but sources described the deal as a four-year, $34.8 million extension including bonuses.[173] Perkins' agent described the deal similarly, as being "almost $36 million" fully guaranteed.[174] Perkins had previously rejected a four-year, $22 million offer from the Celtics.[173] The Celtics' offer was based on Perkins' $4.4 million 2010-11 salary combined with the NBA's rule capping contract extensions (which for non-first round draftees limits subsequent-year salaries under an extension to 110.5% of the previous year); however, the Thunder were able to increase their extension offer by paying roughly $2 million to Perkins as a bonus for 2010-11 (an amount cleared under the cap via the team's February 24, 2011 trades), which in turn increased Perkins' baseline salary for extension purposes to approximately $6.7 million.[175][176] The timing of the extension was mandated by an NBA rule prohibiting renegotiation of current contracts between March 1 and June 30.[175]
  • On April 9, 2011, the Thunder filled out the remaining 15th spot on its roster by signing shooting guard Robert Vaden to a contract, the terms of which were not disclosed.[177] The Thunder had acquired the draft rights to Vaden in 2009, but had not offered him a contract after training camp that year. Vaden spent the 2010–11 season under contract with the Tulsa 66ers, and after signing with the Thunder was immediately assigned back to the Tulsa roster for the 66ers' remaining D-League playoff games. Vaden was then assigned to the Thunder roster after Tulsa's playoff run ended with a loss to the Iowa Energy on April 18.[178]

Draft trades[edit]

  • On June 24, 2010, the L.A. Clippers acquired the draft rights to Bledsoe in exchange for a conditional (top-ten protected) first-round pick in 2012.[22][45]
  • On June 24, 2010, the Thunder acquired the draft rights to 31st pick Tibor Pleiß from Atlanta in exchange for cash consideration.[46]

Roster trades[edit]

  • On June 23, 2010, the Thunder traded their rights to the #32 overall pick to the Miami Heat in exchange for the #18 overall pick and the rights to shooting guard Daequan Cook.[39][40]
  • In a deal made immediately before the trade deadline on February 24, 2011, the Thunder traded forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstić, along with the LA Clippers' 2012 first-round draft pick (previously acquired from the Clippers on June 24, 2010 in exchange for draft rights to Eric Bledsoe) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and point guard Nate Robinson.[179][180]
  • Also on February 24, 2011, the Thunder traded reserve forward D.J. White and reserve guard Morris Peterson to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for center Nazr Mohammed.[179][181]

Free agents[edit]

Additions[edit]

  • On July 21, 2010, the Thunder signed free agent guard Royal Ivey, formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks, to a contract. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.[182]

Subtractions[edit]

Transaction summary table[edit]

Date Transaction Type Thunder Acquired Thunder Gave Up
June 23, 2010 Roster trade United States Daequan Cook
No. 18 pick (United States Eric Bledsoe)
No. 32 pick (United States Dexter Pittman) (to Miami)
June 24, 2010 Draft trade No. 31 pick (Germany Tibor Pleiß) cash considerations (to Atlanta)
June 24, 2010 Draft trade No. 48 pick (United States Latavious Williams) future second-round pick (to Miami)
June 24, 2010 Draft trade protected first-round pick (of LA Clippers) in 2012 No. 18 pick (United States Eric Bledsoe) (to LA Clippers)
June 24, 2010 Draft trade No. 57 pick (United States Ryan Reid)
cash considerations
No. 51 pick (United States Magnum Rolle) (to Indiana)
July 2, 2010 Free agent United States Kevin Ollie
July 8, 2010 Roster trade United States Morris Peterson
No. 11 pick (United States Cole Aldrich)
No. 21 pick (United States Craig Brackins) (to New Orleans)
No. 26 pick (United States Quincy Pondexter) (to New Orleans)
July 22, 2010 Free agent United States Royal Ivey
July 30, 2010 Waiver United States Kyle Weaver
September 2, 2010 Free agent United States Etan Thomas
February 24, 2011 Roster trade United States Kendrick Perkins
United States Nate Robinson
United States Jeff Green (to Boston)
Serbia Nenad Krstić (to Boston)
protected first-round pick (of LA Clippers) in 2012
February 24, 2011 Roster trade United States Nazr Mohammed United States D. J. White (to Charlotte)
United States Morris Peterson (to Charlotte)
April 9, 2011 Draftee signing United States Robert Vaden

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