5 best players who played for the Thunder that you forgot about
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5 best players who played for the Thunder that you forgot about

Since moving the franchise to Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder has seen a revolving door of talent over the years.

While MVPs Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden are no longer with the team, the trio will forever be remembered by fans and pundits for bringing OKC to relevance. Even Paul George who spent just a few seasons before being traded also counts.

However, not all big-name stars who played for the Thunder managed to leave lasting impressions.

These players did not exactly fit with the team’s system at the time, while others’ performances were too forgettable that they simply became an afterthought.

Let’s have a look at five players you probably forgot spent time with the Thunder.

Caron Butler

Butler was a two-way nightmare in his prime and spent his All-Star years with the Washington Wizards in the late 2000s. Age and injuries caught up with him eventually and he became quite the journeyman before his retirement in 2016.

He started the 2013-14 season with the Milwaukee Bucks but found himself without a team by February after being bought out from his contract. Needing another veteran to shore up their bench at the time, the Thunder plucked the 6-foot-7 winger from the free agency pool.

Tuff Juice appeared in 22 games in an OKC uniform and had decent averages of 9.7 points on 40.9 percent shooting from the field and 44.1 percent from distance, to go along with 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals.

The Thunder expected Butler’s playoff experience to come in handy, but his efficiency dropped in the postseason that year. OKC was eliminated by the Spurs in the WCF. The Thunder refused to re-sign him in the offseason and he agreed on a deal with the Detroit Pistons.

Jeff Green

Green has worn so many jerseys throughout his NBA career that people often forget that the first ones he donned were OKC colors. In fact, Green even played for the Seattle Supersonics banner for a year alongside Durant in the 2011-12 season.

The 6-foot-8 forward showcased a lot potential in his rookie year and fans thought his pairing with Durant will bring the team to new heights. While KD was indeed as good as advertised, Green failed to live up to expectations. He was still serviceable throughout his 4-year tenure with the team but became more of a role player once Westbrook and Harden came along.

OKC traded him away in 2011 to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.

Nate Robinson

Westbrook wasn’t the only high-flying pint guard that the Thunder had. As part of the Green trade in 2011, OKC took in Robinson to serve as a back-up for Russ.

While the 3-time Slamdunk champion was considered instant offense off the bench for his earlier teams, Robinson just didn’t get that opportunity with OKC. He barely played for the Thunder, appearing in just four games and spending just 7.5 minutes on the floor. He recorded career lows of 3.3 points on 26.7 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three during his brief stint.

The Thunder waived Robinson prior to the beginning of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season and he was picked up by the Golden State Warriors.

Victor Oladipo

It may be hard to believe right now, but Oladipo was once labeled a bust in his early years in the league. The Orlando Magic gave up on their 2013 second overall pick way too early after shipping him to the Thunder in a package for Serge Ibaka in 2016.

Oladipo played terrific in his new environment, notching 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals in 67 games for OKC in the 2016-17 season. However, VO played eerily similar to Westbrook and some pundits questioned if the two can co-exist in the long run.

OKC had a chance to nab another superstar in Paul George in 2017, and they traded away Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (another Thunder afterthought) to the Indiana Pacers.

To this day, the Thunder are certainly still knocking themselves for this one, as George eventually demanded a trade last year to the Los Angeles Clippers. Oladipo and Sabonis, meanwhile, went on to become All-Stars once they left the team.

Shaun Livingston

Livingston was an important cog to the Warriors’ dynasty, as he fully embraced his back-up role for the star-studded team. But before he won three titles with the Dubs, Livingston made a pit stop in OKC to revitalize his pro career.

The 6-foot-7 playmaker had to claw his way back to the league after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in NBA history back in 2007. After paying his dues with the Thunder’s G-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers, Livingston got called up back to the big leagues.

He recorded 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 8 games for the Thunder in 2008-09. Livingston appeared in 10 more games for OKC the following season before being waived on December 22, 2009.