OKC Thunder clinch a postseason bid for the first time in two years

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have clinched a spot in the NBA postseason. Before anyone chimes in with a “well, actually.” comment, the OKC Thunder will be playing games post the NBA’s regular season. Thus, Postseason. It is okay to enjoy things, I promise.

As the Dallas Mavericks loaded up the tank, Luka Doncic checked out for the final time this season 30 seconds into the second quarter. Despite a scare from Jaden Hardy, they accomplished their mission of losing to the Chicago Bulls. This loss clinched a postseason bid for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will be the tenth seed in the Western Conference and play in the play-in tournament on Wednesday on ESPN. The game time will be 8:30 or 9, depending on who earns the 9th seed in the West.

The OKC Thunder have clinched a postseason bed after just a two-season absence and will play on Wednesday in the NBA Play-in tournament.

As a brief refresher for the NBA play-in tournament, Oklahoma City will play on Wednesday against the to-be-determined 9th seed. The winner of that game will advance to play the loser of the seventh-seed vs. eighth-seed gam. Whoever wins that matchup will advance to play the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA play-in tournament.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were projected to win 20 games this season, lost their second overall pick for the season, and throughout the year, had to play 14 games without their star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. On top of that, key role player Kenrich Williams was lost for the season after playing in 53 games, and injuries interrupted the play of Aleksej Pokusevski and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Nevertheless, they survived the war of attrition to be at the finishing line in the NBA postseason.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on track to make All-NBA, with a solid case to be a first-team guard. Jalen Williams is a lock to make first-team all-rookie while making the Rookie of the Year race too close to comfort for Orlando Magic star Paolo Banchero. In addition, Josh Giddey has taken an under-the-radar leap, and Isaiah Joe continues to be a stellar pick-up just days before the regular season.

Even Jaylin Williams has stepped up in a big way after the already shallow center depth was further depleted this season.

While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gets a ton of credit for the team’s success, even without the first-time All-Star, the OKC Thunder are on a 35-win pace when he does not play, thanks to the development of this young roster. But, of course, much of that is tied directly to Mark Daigneault and his staff, including OKC Blue head coach Kameron Woods.

Of the players on this roster, 10 have NBA G-League experience with their parent company, the OKC Blue. Of those ten, nine went down to the OKC Blue this season.

With an average age of 22.8, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to the postseason before seeing a single top-five pick grace the hardwood for the franchise in this rebuild. But, no matter what happens Wednesday, this season continues to be a success.

Next. Jalen Williams is a franchise changing player. dark