The excitement around this OKC Thunder team has not been this high since the 2017 season when Sam Presti traded for an MVP-level player and a future Hall of Famer. While this team did not make those levels of transactions, this offseason still saw the return of Chet Holmgren from injury, the signing of a two-time EuroLeague MVP, and the selection of another Top-10 pick in Cason Wallace.
Following a 16-win improvement, with another Summer of development, it is easy to see why Nationally, and locally, expectations are high for this Oklahoma City team. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best players in the World, Josh Giddey has shown extreme flashes, and Jalen Williams was runner-up for Rookie of the Year last season with a case to knock off Paolo Banchero.
OKC Thunder fans should buy into this year’s team after an exciting week of Training Camp to reaffirm their beliefs.
Still, the Western Conference will be a gauntlet. A single game will likely be the difference in seeds 3-8, and the Play-in race will be a jumbled mess that leaves at least one team out in the cold, feeling like their franchise is heading in the wrong direction.
While the Thunder did make a 16-win leap last season, they still finished below .500 and do not get to carry that momentum with them. It is a new season at ground zero, and the OKC Thunder will no longer be sneaking up on teams. Mark Daigneault feels they have earned more respect around League circles than that.
So, with a highly competitive conference, a razor-thin margin for error, and a few new pieces to try to blend with last year’s team, it is easy to see some concerns for this still-young bunch. However, the flip side of that coin is the potential for this Thunder team to go on an epic run similar to last year’s Sacramento Kings.
While Light the Beam was the talk of the NBA, at this time last year, no one pegged the Sac Town royalty as a team that would earn Home Court Advantage in the West. Surprises do happen, and that is what makes this league great.
With the understanding that this season will be a battle littered with extreme highs and lows, you will want to be bought into this Thunder team when everything comes out in the wash. How they have carried themselves at Media Day and Training Camp affirms that.
The OKC Thunder are saying all the right things, hitting all the right notes, about this upcoming season so far at Training Camp. With the team looking “Sharp” and the on-paper fit of their new additions, it is hard not to believe in this Thunder roster fully.
Ultimately, the Thunder will need to prove it on the floor, but everything is trending in the right direction at the OKC Thunder training camp. While the Thunder is still focused on building their roster, it is sort of a toothpaste back-in-the-tube situation.
This fanbase is ready, and the team might be too. For all the details on a sure-to-be wild season, follow along with us at Thunderous Intentions and on Twitter.