Why the OKC Thunder are in prime position to dominate in-season tournament

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

The NBA has announced an exciting addition to the 2023-23 regular season. The NBA will debut an in-season tournament that sees all 30 teams fight for the “NBA Cup.” While all 30 teams will compete, only eight will advance out of pool play and into the tournament portion, which will eventually lead to the final four at a neutral in Las Vegas, Nevada. The NBA will take the best record from each pool and two wild card teams into the tournament stage. This should be welcomed news for OKC Thunder fans as the team is poised to dominate this event.

Every Tuesday and Friday during November of the 2023 NBA season, games will count as regular-season contests toward the end of the season standings and pool games for the fight for the NBA Cup. All 30 teams have been segmented into six pools, West and East A, B, and C. The OKC Thunder are in Group C with the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings.

The OKC Thunder are poised to dominate the NBA In-Season Tournament as one of the youngest teams in the league.

While the official dates, times, and TV broadcasters will be announced later, we know the OKC Thunder path in pool play. These games will be every Tuesday and Friday during November (excluding Election Day on November 7th), with the Thunder playing at home against the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs and on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings.

This tournament will bring the likes of Victor Wembanyama, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Chris Paul, and Draymond Green to Bricktown in November, which is great news. Fans getting to see stars at the beginning of the season likely means the rosters will be healthy and provide more fan-experience value as opposed to burying a Chet Holmgren vs. Victor Wembanyama matchup later in the season in lineups can get a bit wacky.

As far as pools go, the OKC Thunder got one of the better draws, but that does not even begin to scratch the surface for reasons the Thunder will be poised to dominate this event.

The OKC Thunder are one of the youngest teams in the league, which means the regular season will still matter to this spunky squad that had a surprise 40-win season a year ago, and has only added to that group. With a third top-ten pick in Cason Wallace joining the fold, multi-time EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic coming stateside, and Chet Holmgren in line to make his long-awaited NBA debut, all signs point to OKC Thunder being one of the most exciting, fun, and good teams this season.

There are also worst draws than road games in Minnesota and Sacramento during the regular season. As we saw a year ago, even against Steph Curry, De’Aaron Fox, and Anthony Edwards, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can be the best player on the floor in these matchups, and often time is.

With the roster overflowing, set at 21 standard contract players according to reported moves, the OKC Thunder have a ton of depth to not only start the season hot but survive the marathon of an 82-game season and whether the storm of any jam-packed stretches.

The OKC Thunder also boasts a roster that loves the spotlight thrives in big games, and wants to be involved in the action. While other more veteran ladened teams might dismiss this new in-season tournament, the vibe from this young Thunder squad is that they would embrace being the first-ever NBA Cup winners. It would certainly be a statement to the league and validation to the fanbase that this young core is coming.

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