The future is bright in Oklahoma City

The future is bright in Oklahoma City

Ashton Mineo, Reporter

The rebuild in Oklahoma City might be over a lot earlier than most people expected. The Thunder just might have the best young core in the NBA and they seem to be putting it together already. To many people’s surprise, the Thunder are contending for a playoff spot and vastly exceeded preseason expectations.

Before the season, the Thunder were being criticized for the way they were going about their rebuild.  General manager Sam Presti was taking heat from the media because they thought his tactics were stretching out the rebuild with no end in sight. Presti has made a multitude of trades that have landed the Thunder a plethora of future first round picks. Some of those picks have already been used to acquire young talent such as Tre Mann, Jalen Williams, and Ousmane Dieng and the Thunder still have nine first round picks through 2027 on top of their own picks. Needless to say a lot of young talent will continue to come in to Oklahoma City or Presti could utilize those picks to pull off some big trades. Either way he decides to use them, I trust in Sam Presti. He has continuously proven himself as an elite executive in this league. He has drafted many great players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibalka, Josh Giddey, and more. I am sure that Presti will continue his excellence in this area.

The sports books set the Thunder’s preseason win total over/under at 23.5. This was incredibly foolish and disrespectful seeing how the Thunder won 24 games in the previous season despite their best player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, missed over a third of the season. The Thunder are 23-25 on the season so far, and they are two games out of being the 6th seed in the western conference. In a season where the Thunder were projected to be a bottom three team in the league they are competing for a playoff spot and they just need one win to surpass their preseason projection with 34 games left to play. Shai has been phenomenal this year, putting up 31, 6, and 5 on 51/36/90 shooting splits. He has also been exceptional on the defensive end; the same can be said for his teammate Lu Dort. Shai is a shoo-in for the All Star Game and he is the catalyst behind this team’s success.

If the Thunder were able to sneak their way into the playoffs, they would be the youngest team in NBA history to reach the postseason. The average player on the Thunder is only 23 years old! This team just oozes young talent. Shai has already established himself as a super star and he is only 24 years old. His supporting cast consists of other budding stars such as rookie of the year candidate Jalen Williams (21), Josh Giddey (20), Lu Dort (23), and more. And let’s not forget the 2nd overall pick in last year’s draft, 7-footer Chet Holmgren, is sidelined with an injury, but he is set to reign terror on the rest of the NBA in the upcoming seasons. These player have a bright future ahead of them, and collectively I think they could be a special team in the coming years.