The Oklahoma City Thunder are back in the NBA Postseason. After a two-year drought, the longest in franchise history since relocating from Seattle, the OKC Thunder will play a win-or-go-home game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
This will be the most significant stage this Thunder team has ever played on. The Oklahoma City Thunder represent the youngest team in the NBA and the second-youngest team in league history. Playing on this postseason stage, on the road, in a winner takes all game, it will be interesting to see how the Thunder responds to this setting.
Who are the biggest X-Factors for the OKC Thunder in their NBA Play-In game against the New Orleans Pelicans?
While these two teams have played each other extremely close, there are a ton of variables will looking back on those four matchups. Most notably, the Pelicans missed Brandon Ingram for three of the four tilts and CJ McCollum for two of the four contests. However, even the OKC Thunder dealt with shake-ups this season.
Throughout the four games, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Kenrich Williams, and Tre Mann played heightened minutes. Most of them will not step on the floor on Wednesday as Kenrich Williams suffered a season-ending injury, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Tre Mann have fallen out of the rotation. Pokusevski has not been the same post-injury, and it is unclear if he is even active for this team.
With that rotation change, key figures like Aaron Wiggins and Isaiah Joe did not log a single minute in the first contest between these two teams, and they only played 10-plus-minutes in the same game once in the four matches.