The 2009-2010 NBA Season marked the first playoff appearance in the history for the Oklahoma City Thunder organization and a what a way to debut in the playoffs, against Kobe Bryant and the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers.
The Thunder were the youngest team in the NBA at the moment and entered the Western Conference Playoffs from the 8th seed with an impressive record of 50-32. The 1st seed LA Lakers would come into the series as the experienced favorites, but they didn’t have an easy job. They would eventually pull through and win in 6 games, but for the Thunder, it was a sign of good things to come.
The Lakers would win their first 2 home games, but when the series shifted to Oklahoma it became a battle, especially in Game 3 which notched Thunder's first playoff win in history. The Thunder would win 96-101 with a 22-year old Kevin Durant leading them with 29 points and 19 rebounds. The second-year Point Guard Russell Westbrook added 27 points, while a rookie James Harden scored 18 points from the bench. This game would put the league on notice that the Thunder were coming.
Next season the Thunder would reach the Western Conference Finals, where they would lose to the Mavericks in 5 games. And a season after that the Thunder would reach the Finals, where they would be stopped by Lebron James and the Miami Heat also in 5 games. They were too young to win at that time and were getting ready to compete in numerous finals in the coming years with their big three leading them, but it all fell apart when James Harden was traded before the begging of the next season.
Such a turn of events leads to a question of what these 3 MVP candidates nowadays could have done if they stayed together. Unfortunately, we will never know.