OKC Thunder GM sets expectations for this season

Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have built one of the best young cores in the NBA. That has led the excitement and expectations around this Oklahoma City Thunder team to skyrocket following a 16-win improvement a year ago. The Thunder will add the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Cason Wallace, sharpshooter Davis Bertans, and two-time EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic to this squad.

That goes hand in hand with the litter of depth from Kenrich Williams, Aaron Wiggins, and Jaylin Williams to Isaiah Joe, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Ousmane Dieng. Mixing Holmgren into the core four and bonafide superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Jalen Williams.

It is easy to see why the buzz around Bricktown is palatable. There has not been this much excitement since the 2017 season, and after a play-in bid last season, the fanbase is looking for more.  Sam Presti was asked about this renewed excitement around Oklahoma City at his annual preseason media availability.

The OKC Thunder see Sam Presti set expectations for the 2023-24 NBA season despite the burning excitement from the fanbase.

Sam Presti spent a lot of time on Wednesday cautioning fans that everyone is 0-0 with a new season. You do not get to literally pick up from where you left off a season ago. This year’s Thunder team will be meshing in new players, a new rotation, and new roles for players, and they have to hope it is as perfect of a fit as last year’s team ended up being after the turn of the New Year.

Sam Presti was bold in saying this OKC Thunder team “will be a better team” than last season but noted that the measurement of that is not as simple as wins and losses.

Like Sam Presti, I do not doubt that this Oklahoma City Thunder squad will be a much better team than last year, just using the eye test. It is hard to duplicate a 16-win improvement; typically, teams are fortunate to improve by five games, which is usually a wildly successful year.

While some are predicting a massive leap in wins again, including some predicting a top-four seed for the Thunder, this year might look more like a season ago in the win column than not. If it does, that is not considered a failure.

The OKC Thunder are poised for another jump in win total; I think this Thunder team will capture a top-six seed in a tough Western Conference, but they have to execute on the floor.

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