Are the OKC Thunder already a top team in the NBA?

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 are embarking on yet another step in their rebuild process. One that simultaneously feels long and short, which has led to a ton of National confusion about the Thunder. The Oklahoma City Thunder set up to reshape their organization in the Summer of 2019 as they traded Russell Westbrook and Paul George away. Though a spunky Chris Paul bunch made it to the NBA Playoffs in 2019-20, featuring a seven-game battle with the Houston Rockets.

While that was a fun ride, the OKC Thunder needed to truly rebuild, which led to them selling off Chris Paul, Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and pretty much their entire roster, and even replacing Billy Donovan with his protege Mark Daigneault. The Thunder lost a lot of games in 2020-21 and even fell in the draft lottery, but still wound up with a steal in Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick.

The losing did not stop there, though, the OKC Thunder once again stumbled in 2021-22, which led to them owning the second overall pick, Chet Holmgren, and pulling off one of the best draft classes in recent memory compiling Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams, and Jaylin Williams. Even though Holmgren missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury, the Thunder still were able to surprise their way to a 40-win season. A year that included an NBA play-in tournament.

In their latest NBA Power rankings, OKC Thunder was pegged as top half of the league team by ESPN.

Now, after a two-year absence from the postseason, not only have the Thunder returned to play-in basketball but seem primed for another decade-plus run at relevancy with one of the best young cores in the NBA. As the moving and shaking of the NBA offseason slow down, and really the world stops spinning until Damian Lillard and James Harden are on their next squads, ESPN released a way-too-early 2023-24 NBA Power Ranking.

ESPN tabbed the OKC Thunder as the 15th-best team in the NBA. The Thunder fall behind the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, L.A. Clippers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, and Dallas Mavericks.

The Oklahoma City Thunder could realistically pass up a few names on this list, but ultimately being 15th is a comfortable spot for them. The Thunder rank ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, and Detroit Pistons.

Chet Holmgren inspired by Hall of Fame Big Man. dark. Next