With the full NBA schedule out, it’s time to circle the underrated games to watch. Whether it’s individual matchups, history, or atmosphere, these regular-season contests are hidden gems. What are three underrated OKC Thunder tilts this season?
Top 3 Underrated OKC Thunder Games
November 28th at Minnesota Timberwolves
This date marks the first matchup between these franchises since Minnesota massacred OKC in the play-in tournament. The undersized Thunder couldn’t handle their jumbo front court featuring Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, who produced a combined 49 points and 21 rebounds.
With 7’1” Chet Holmgren in the lineup now, the Thunder stand a far better chance of stopping the roll man, competing on the glass, and deterring lobs. If OKC does manage to hold their own here against Minnesota’s size, then the Thunder can hang with anyone; it’s essentially an interior litmus test.
In addition, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander faces defensive ace Jaden McDaniels. The Timberwolves forward led the NBA in perimeter isolation defense while ranking 17th in off-ball chaser defense. Outside of Herb Jones, it’s arguably Gilgeous-Alexander’s toughest matchup.
Meanwhile, future superstar Anthony Edwards must contend with Lu Dort’s physical, relentless perimeter defense.
Can Edwards handle Lu Dort’s defense? Per Synergy, Edwards shot 7/19 (36.8%) from the field when Dort was the primary defender across four regular season matchups last season. Advantage Dort!
The individual battles here are intriguing to the highest degree. It’s also an in-season tournament game, so more is on the line than a typical late November matchup.
February 25th at Houston Rockets; February 27th vs Houston Rockets
The two fan bases have gone back and forth recently over which core holds the higher ceiling, so this back-to-back provides each side the chance to prove their case. The amount of premier young talent on display is jaw-dropping.
Josh Giddey, Alperen Sengun, and Amen Thompson will each throw a few passes that force the viewer to question physics. Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Green can put on an isolation clinic, while Jalen Williams and Jabari Smith Jr vie for the most promising 2022 Draft two-way wing.
On the other end, Dort, Cason Wallace, Dillon Brooks, and Tari Eason can flex their defensive muscles. Should either game be a blowout, the intriguing Ousmane Dieng and Cam Whitmore also receive an extended opportunity to show their colossal potential.
November 10th at Sacramento Kings
The Kings posted the highest Offensive Rating in NBA history last season and loved to run the floor (they ranked first in transition frequency). Every matchup between these teams breached 230 total points, so expect fireworks again this year.
Chet Holmgren must guard the perimeter more than usual because Domantas Sabonis loves to orchestrate dribble handoffs; therefore, it’s an excellent opportunity for Holmgren to hone his lateral mobility and reaction time.
Finally, Sacramento’s roaring crowd constantly shook the arena, so this young OKC Thunder squad will gain valuable experience battling what is essentially playoff conditions.