For three consecutive seasons the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted a great player in the first round of the NBA draft. In 2007 they drafted Kevin Durant No. 2 overall, in 2008 they drafted Russell Westbrook No. 4 overall, and in 2009 they drafted James Harden No. 3 overall. 
Pretty impressive drafting by Thunder management to hit it big three consecutive years.
The three worked together quiet well with Kevin Durant obviously the best player and future of the franchise. The team even made it to the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. However the Thunder couldn’t keep all three of these great draft picks. With Westbrook and Durant making top dollar the Thunder and Harden couldn’t agree on a new contract and Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets.
Bad move by the Thunder.
For whatever the reason Thunder head coach Scott Brooks never fully bought into James Harden. In the 2011-12 NBA season Harden won the sixth man of the year award. Unfortunately that’s not the award Harden should be winning because it restricts his playing time. A player as talented as Harden shouldn’t be used so sparingly in a 48 minute basketball game.
With the Thunder, Harden only started seven total games in three seasons and averaged 26.7 minutes played per game. Not nearly enough. 
With the Rockets Harden is being used more, a lot more. In his first season with the Rockets, Harden averaged 38.3 minutes per game and started 78 games. 
Obviously the Thunder couldn’t keep Durant, Westbrook, and Harden because it wouldn’t work out financially. Durant being the elite scorer that he is leaves him exempt from trade. The Thunder should have traded away their “point guard” Russell Westbrook and got value. It has been said numerous times by many Pro Basketball Hall of Famers including Magic Johnson and Gary Payton that Russell Westbrook isn’t a true point guard.
Last season Westbrook took 102 more shots than Kevin Durant. If you keep that one-two combination going it will continue to go nowhere. If the Thunder traded away Westbrook they could have got back value, kept Harden, and found a legit point guard.
James Harden was the force that drove the Thunder to defeat the San Antonio Spurs in the 2012 Western Conference after falling down to a 0-2 deficit. Harden is also one of the leading free throw shooters in the NBA. When Harden came into the game for the Thunder, Durant actually got more involved. But all that is gone now, it’s all on shoot first point guard Westbrook to spread the ball around and see if Durant can get shots.
The Rockets made a great decision to trade for Harden and to play him large amount of minutes per game. He’s a starter not a bench player. Unfortunately the Thunder never rally recognized his full potential.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder draft history. basketball-reference.com
2. James Harden Stats. basketball-reference.com
3. 2012-13 Thunder Stats. basketball-reference.com