More than just a hot start: OKC Thunder midseason report card

The OKC Thunder are out to prove that this is more than just a hot start to the season, and as we issue mid-season grades, it certainly feels like OKC is legit.

Dec 14, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2)
Dec 14, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the league’s biggest surprises last season and have only carried that momentum into 2024.

As Thunder GM Sam Presti once said, they want the team’s next playoff run to be an arrival, not just an appearance. Going from sneaking into the playoffs as a ten seed last season to competing for the first seed certainly helps that plan.

At the midway point of the 2023-24 season, Oklahoma City sits at 28-13 with nothing but optimism surrounding the young team. After missing out on the postseason just two times in what seemed like a potentially lengthy rebuild, the team has already shown it can compete with the league’s best.

This season, the Thunder have beaten the rest of the top four in the Western Conference and the league-leading Boston Celtics. Those games have defined the Thunder’s season as one where the prospect of winning a championship is within reach.

With a top-10 offense and defense, the Thunder may look to bolster their roster at the deadline or stand pat with the group they have now. In either case, the season has already been a success, and winning a playoff series would be the true signal that the Thunder are ready for the moment.

While going further than just the second round is something the Thunder will look to accomplish, they cannot look past the tremendous strides they have taken through the first 41 games.