Did Bleacher Report slight the OKC Thunder young core?

Jalen Williams #8, Josh Giddey #3, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8, Josh Giddey #3, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have one of the brightest young cores in the entire NBA. The team jumped from 24 wins to 40 wins a year ago behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s superstar emergence, Josh Giddey taking a year two leap, and Jalen Williams dominating in his rookie season, finishing runner-up for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. That ended in a play-in bid following the 2022-23 NBA regular season, a return to the postseason after a two-year hiatus. Despite falling a game shy of a playoff series, the future looks incredibly bright in Bricktown.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have only added to their group this offseason from a year ago. Namely, Chet Holmgren’s long-awaited debut is set for October after missing the entire 2022-23 campaign with a foot injury. The Thunder also brought in a new top-10 overall pick in Cason Wallace, a promising second-rounder in Keyontae Johnson, and the much-anticipated debut of Vasilije Micic in the NBA.

The latest Bleacher Report rankings might have slighted the OKC Thunder’s young core.

There is currently more talent than ever in the NBA, which is why the league is hurling toward expansion. With that comes improving rosters and young cores around the league. However, many around Oklahoma City would still project the Thunder to top the league in the “young core” category. Boasting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, Cason Wallace, Ousmane Dieng, Jaylin Williams, and company will be tough to beat.

However, Bleacher Report disagrees. Dan Favale took the time to rank the top-ten young cores in the association. The Oklahoma City Thunder were tabbed as the second-best core in the NBA behind the San Antonio Spurs, who now roster a generational prospect in Victor Wembanyama.

While Wembanyama is immediately the most exciting, or at least interesting, young player in the NBA, this list is a bit jarring when you take each core pound for pound. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the best player on either roster, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams are better than any non-Victor Wembanyama player on the Spurs roster, and the Thunder have their own generational big man in Chet Holmgren, not to mention the hoard of picks the OKC Thunder have to further improve this roster when the time comes.

The OKC Thunder third-year point guard did not love the ranking either, and he took to Instagram to question Favale’s appraisal of NBA cores.

Ultimately, these rankings do not matter and are admittedly incredibly hard to make, but when it comes to these two, putting the San Antonio Spurs ahead of the OKC Thunder is a bit premature.

These two teams will be tied together, not only by I-35 but by each budding young cores being placed in the NBA limelight. Odds are, the first regular season matchup between these two squads will come in November during the NBA In-season tournament in Bricktown. Get your popcorn ready.

Next. Projecting Oklahoma City's starting 5 after NBA Summer League. dark