Tonight the Oklahoma City Thunder looked the way we want them to look: Competitive and determined. Now on a three game win streak, we’ll break down some facts on how the team looked and can look over the next few days. Tonight, there was a flash of greatness and these men looked determined to keep it going.
1. This is a playoff team
I was one of the many hoops fans that said, “Oklahoma City has no chance at the playoffs but they can get very close.” I now want to say my bad. Because this OKC team looks like they could actually get to the playoffs. And while they won’t necessarily contend, they can definitely compete. Especially if they can finish 6th-7th.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is gonna lead this new generation of stars
SAG was impressive last year as a rookie and that’s what made us all so excited about the trade whenever he came over (yes, I’m happy Paul George is gone). Tonight, Gilgeous-Alexander has himself a game. Putting up 32 points with 4 board and 3 assists, he shot 72% overall; knocking down both his three point attempts. In the words of Stephen A. Smith, “this brother can ball.” Being more of a focal point in the offense, we see what scouts and coaches saw in the Kentucky product.
3. OKC DOES NOT need to go for the lottery pick
Guys…one of the most annoying things I see on social media are Thunder fans who get upset at their team for winning because y’all want a lottery pick. This team can win games and can compete now. This has to be recognized. Four months ago, it seemed as though all hope was lost and that OKC was about to enter the dark ages. Whelp, it seems like these men love the underdog role and are embracing it so much that they’re sitting at 14-14 winning the last 8 of 11.
4. They can compete with teams 3-6 in the current standings
If by some miracle, Oklahoma City can slip into the 6th seed come April, that’ll more than likely be the best bet for them in terms of winning percentage based on who they could match up against. Currently sitting in 7th place, the Thunder could make a good series against the Clippers, Mavs or Rockets should they move up and have the opportunity to play one of those teams. Those three would present the best chance of advancing to the second round.
5. This is the most complete team since 2012.
A true point guard, a hard nosed big man, potential 6MOY, a 2nd year sensation and a host of players who know their roles and play them well gives the Thunder the most well rounded team since we saw them go to the finals. They look determined, they look hungry and it shows in their play. Especially the last three games. Will they make a deep run? I’m not counting on it. Will they surpass expectations for them? I fully believe so.
Sunday, Paul George makes his return to OKC when the Clippers face the Thunder at 6pm. That game is one that is sure to be a great matchup as the Thunder lost 90-88 last time these two clubs faced off. I would suspect some anger towards George and I can see Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul having some fun that night.