NBA leans into budding rivalry with OKC Thunder in-season tournament schedule

Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have one of the best young cores in the entire NBA, which has only grown stronger this off-season. On top of adding Cason Wallace and Keyontae Johnson through the draft, the most important addition is the health of Chet Holmgren.

The 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft missed the entire 2022-23 NBA season and is poised to make his NBA debut this October. In just a short calendar year, the league has added another generational big man prospect in 2023 top overall pick Victor Wembanyama. As everyone crowns Wembanyama as the best prospect since LeBron James, the league’s marketing team is all-in on propping up the Spurs.

NBA set to lean into the budding OKC Thunder rivalry; Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama take center stage during the 2023 In-Season Tournament.

On Tuesday,  the NBA announced the 2023-24 NBA In-Season tournament schedule. Pool play games will take place every Tuesday and Friday in November (sans Election Day), with those that advance to the tournament portion will battle in a single elimination bracket that includes the final four being played in Vegas.

During Pool play, the OKC Thunder will take on the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and Minnesota Timberwolves. The NBA has placed all eyes on what they hope is a budding rivalry during this in-season tournament.

Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren will be tied together forever. Two lengthy big men with abnormal frames and a ton of hype surrounding their games. They just so happen to play in the same conference on teams that feature young cores that seem primed for a long run of contention out West. With both set to make their NBA debuts this year, the NBA hopes to turn this into the next great rivalry in the association.

That marketing strategy has already started. The OKC Thunder will not only host Wembanyama in the preseason but their in-season tournament game will be broadcasted on National Television on November 14th, carried by TNT at 7 p.m. in the Paycom Center.

A year ago, the Thunder had to scrap and claw for the right to play on National Television after being passed over for the big stage the previous two seasons. The OKC Thunder only were broadcasted nationally due to the mid-season flex scheduling.

Before the entire slate is even revealed, the Thunder already own a game on National TV, which could be one of the most-watched games in November, with Chet Holmgren battling Victor Wembanyama. Still, this young OKC Thunder team seems poised to dominate the in-season tournament.

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