OKC Thunder getting much deserved buzz for yearly awards

Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder are firmly in the mix for the NBA postseason, despite the expectations during the preseason. This has caught the attention of many of the National Media as the Thunder sits with a 36-38 record heading into Sunday’s game in Portland, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote (paid subscription) about the NBA award races, and the Thunder is more in contention than you might think.

The OKC Thunder have by far exceeded expectations, including Hollinger’s, who pegged this team for 20 wins, and now they see three members of the squad in the running for NBA awards as the season is winding down.

The OKC Thunder are getting deserved praise and attention for NBA yearly awards as the season begins to wind down.

The most notable takeaway from the latest award debates is the Rookie of the Year conversation. What was once a solidified award for Orlando Magic star Paolo Banchero has lately shifted the discourse to give the Thunder’s Jalen Williams more respect.

Since the All-Star break, the Santa Clara product has averaged 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists on a true shooting percentage of 65 percent in those games. All this while contributing to a winning team hurling toward a postseason bid.

In this same article, Hollinger gives a shoutout to Mark Daigneault, pondering how the OKC Thunder bench boss would not be Coach of the Year, should he get the squad to a .500 record and make the postseason given the expectations of this roster.

While I think each award will be handed to Paolo Banchero and Mike Brown, respectively, it is great to see the Thunder earning some recognition around the league.

Those are two awards the Oklahoma City Thunder at least have a puncher’s chance of taking home. However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should finish top five in MVP voting, while the trophy will be headed to Denver, Philly, or Milwaukee. It is an honor to have a seat at the preverbal table.

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