Everybody hurts, do not take it out on the OKC Thunder

Head coach Mark Daigneault of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Daigneault of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder currently sit at 23-24, a game away from .500 and flirting with the NBA Playoffs thanks to the leadership of OKC Thunder bench boss Mark Daigneault, and the young players on this roster hitting their stride.

The OKC Thunder have turned in a 7-3 record over their last ten games, tied for the 9th seed in the NBA, and just a game out of the 6th seed to avoid the NBA Play-in Tournament altogether. Despite that many projected them to win 20 games or less and be the poster child for tanking this season, The Thunder are 12 games out from the worst NBA record and nine games out of the fourth worst record in the Associate where they sat each of the last two seasons.

It is the NBA in 2023, everybody hurts, but do not punish the OKC Thunder for it

The biggest complaint about the NBA in 2023 is the fact that stars no longer play 82 games, unlike the stars of old load management is all the rage as well as the uptick in strenuous or nagging injuries that need more attention.

As the NBA world complains about stars no playing, and admitting that on any given night any top player could miss a contest, we can not then criticize the Thunder for knocking off non-fully healthy opponents a year after dubbing them the black eye of the league.

Over their recent stretch of games, Nikola Jokic missed a contest due to a nagging injury, Tyrese Haliburton has missed over a week with his injury, Kevin Durant has been sidelined with a significant injury, and Ja Morant was ejected from a contest in which the Thunder won without Josh Giddey or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander suiting up.

None of those things can be controlled by the Thunder, and it is not as though the NBA is still overlooking this scrappy young team, it is just the nature of the beast. This is life in the association in 2023.

So as the OKC Thunder hit their stride and compile more wins than projected, instead of looking for reasons to discredit them, pundits and fans could just admit we all undersold this team and they’re developing at a faster rate than expected. Is the other shoe going to drop on the OKC Thunder this season? It does not appear so.

The week ahead for the Thunder: vs Hawks, vs Cavs, Vs Warriors

Record prediction: 2-1

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