How high can OKC Thunder move up NBA standings in Orlando?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder drives around Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder drives around Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder opponents: Donovan Mitchell #45 and Rudy Gobert #27 of Utah Jazz (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder set sights on Jazz:

Perhaps the best part of the league using the existing schedule is the Thunder will get to play the game versus Utah that was postponed on March 11th. A victory would push OKC ahead of the Jazz since they would win the season series (2-1) and therefore have the tiebreak edge.

In a perfect world, the Thunder would want to play the Jazz in the postseason as we’ve highlighted previously. That matchup can happen via the season playing out in a few different scenarios:

  • The Jazz and Thunder retain their current fourth and fifth seeds
  • OKC and Jazz switch positions on the ladder
  • The Thunder move past Jazz and Nuggets to claim third seed while the Jazz falls to sixth
  • Likewise, the Thunder overtake the Jazz, Nuggets, and Clippers to gain the second seed while the Jazz drop below the Thunder, Rockets, and Mavericks into seventh

As crazy as those latter two scenarios might seem they aren’t that far fetched, particularly the scenario for the Thunder to claim the third seed and the Jazz to drop to sixth. The reality is it won’t be surprising if the Jazz drops down to seventh.

One of the stranger aspects of the Jazz calendar is other than the Clippers and Thunder, they didn’t play any games versus the Nuggets, Rockets or Mavericks until January 25th. In a month, they played that trio seven times winning the Mavs series (2-0) but lost both series versus the Nuggets (0-2) and Rockets (1-2).

In their eight ‘seeded’ games aside from the Thunder, the Jazz will play the Lakers and Spurs twice plus the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Mavericks.

Even if the Thunder doesn’t win the game versus the Jazz they could still vault past Utah given the Jazz’ schedule is arguably harder than each of the Thunder, Rockets, and Mavericks.