The OKC Thunder are playing like a play-in team

Head coach Mark Daigneault (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Daigneault (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder came into the season with an interesting outlook. Everyone understood the OKC Thunder would be a better team than the previous two seasons, but no one knew if that would translate to their record given the wild Western Conference and the fact that the Thunder lost their prized prospect, Chet Holmgren, for the entire season.

Fast forward to the halfway point in the season, and the OKC Thunder sit at the 13th seed in the Western Conference, with an 18-22 record, just a game and a half out of the NBA postseason play-In tournament. While many had the Thunder pegged for one of the worst records in the league and sitting comfortably heading into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes also known as the NBA Draft Lottery come May, they are closer to a playoff spot than top odds at the Draft’s prize.

The OKC Thunder are nearing the play-in, and are playing far more like a team that should be in the postseason than a bottom-of-the-standings squad

The OKC Thunder sit eight and a half games back of the worst record in the NBA, five and a half games back of the fourth place in the reserve standings where the team finished the previous two seasons.

However, they are in this spot not only due to a disappointing season from the Minnesota Timberwolves and the L.A. Lakers still not figuring things out, and the once-surging Utah Jazz hitting a roadblock. The OKC Thunder have created their advantages.

Despite their injury luck seeing Chet Holmgren out for the season, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Ousmane Dieng all missing extended time, the Thunder own a top-ten defense while being the youngest team in the NBA.

The OKC Thunder ranks eighth in points per game (116.5) and third in pace, they have seen their three-point percentage leap up from being the bottom of the barrel the last two seasons to 16th this season, top five in steals, top ten in blocks, and 18th in net rating.

While no one is sure how the second half of the season is going to end up, as of now, the Oklahoma City Thunder are playing like a play-in team.

Next. Chet Holmgren participates in post-practice shooting competition. dark