Despite being a small market team, the Oklahoma City Thunder have had an impressive number of stars on their roster since moving from Seattle in 2008.
Holding on to those stars, though, has been a different story. Through a series of questionable trades and free-agency departures, the Thunder roster is not at the level that it could be had the team made more of an effort to hang on to its home-grown talent.
In fact, only Russell Westbrook remains from the 2008-09 roster. Though that team only finished 23-59, the foundation was there for a team that could have been a dynasty.
Add in some reinforcements like James Harden and Serge Ibaka, both of whom came to OKC via the 2009 NBA Draft, and it's surprising the Thunder didn't make more than one NBA Finals appearance.
However, Harden, Ibaka and Kevin Durant are gone now, leaving us with only this hypothetical roster of what could have been if the Thunder managed to hang on to more of their talented players:
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook
Now that most of the other players on this list have left Oklahoma City, the Thunder unquestionably belong to Russell Westbrook.
The star point guard hasn't disappointed, as his per game averages of 31.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 10.4 assists have him on the verge of NBA history and at the top of the MVP list.
Though he co-existed well with the other players on this star-studded roster, he's really thrived as the focal point of OKC's roster. However, the results haven't been as good as they were with Kevin Durant last year, as the Thunder are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference with a record of 43-31.
Shooting Guard: James Harden
It's entirely possible that Harden would not have developed into the player that he is today had he not left the shadow of Westbrook and Oklahoma City.
Now, he's a close second to his former teammate in the MVP race, averaging 29.3 points, 11.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds a night for the resurgent Houston Rockets. He's the focal point of the offense and has thrived with the ball in his hands.
Still, while Harden and Westbrook wouldn't be able to maintain their current styles of play if they shared a court, it's fun to imagine Harden knocking down open three after open three for this star-studded OKC roster.
Harden's 2012 trade to the Rockets is one of the greatest "what ifs" of the 2010s. If the Thunder hadn't given up on trying to work out an extension with the then-budding star, it could have changed the entire NBA landscape.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant
Durant and Westbrook co-existed for eight years before Durant decided to head west and join the Golden State Warriors this past offseason.
Though that decision has fractured his relationship with Westbrook, if we imagine that KD never left, the Thunder get a major boost from his all-around scoring prowess.
For his career, Durant has averaged 27.2 points and 7.1 rebounds a night. Those numbers would likely take a hit in this star-studded lineup, but KD would still have a huge role.
Power Forward: Serge Ibaka
In another questionable move (though not on par with the Harden trade), the Thunder shipped Ibaka to the Orlando Magic this offseason for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis.
Though Ibaka is now in Toronto, the trade didn't exactly work out the way the Thunder had hoped, either. Ilyasova is long gone, Oladipo hasn't quite lived up to expectations and, while promising, Sabonis is a work in progress.
Having Ibaka in OKC this season would make life a lot easier for Westbrook, who would thrive playing alongside a "three-and-D" specialist like his former teammate.
Center: Steven Adams
Now in his fourth NBA season, Adams has had to step up his production for this lackluster Thunder roster. He's now averaging a career-high 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a night as the de-facto sidekick to Westbrook.
The 7'0" New Zealander is a force in the paint and would thrive with the roster listed above, as he wouldn't be relied on for much offensive production.
With Westbrook, Harden, Durant and Ibaka handling a bulk of the scoring, Adams could focus on his strong defense and protect the rim from OKC opponents.
Sixth Man: Enes Kanter
Even without many solid options in the starting lineup this year, the Thunder still choose to bring Kanter off the bench.
That's because the sixth-year player has thrived in a sixth-man role. This year, for example, he's averaging 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game.
Having him lead a second unit, maybe with Harden running the point for that group, would make sure this hypothetical Thunder roster has plenty of scoring punch at all times.News Now - Sport News