December 2nd, 2021, was a day to forget for Oklahoma City Thunder fans. You likely remember where you were (and for your sake, I hope you were doing nearly anything but watching this game) when you found out the OKC Thunder suffered the worst loss in NBA history.
As Christmas music begins to blare on the Holiday season, the Thunder are two years to the day removed from falling 152-79 in the FedEx Forum. The starting lineup that night for Oklahoma City? Tre Mann, Ty Jerome, Lu Dort, Jeremiah Robinson-Ear, and Darius Bazley.
What about the key reserves? Paul Watson Jr, Gabriel Deck, Isaiah Roby, Aleksej Pokusevsk, and Mike Muscala. Just three players from this game remain on the roster, and of those three, just one remains in Mark Daigneault's rotation.
Two years removed from hitting rock bottom, the OKC Thunder have the brightest future in the NBA.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost by 73 points to the Ja Morant-less Grizzlies. They were the laughingstock of the NBA, at least for the night. It certainly did not help the "black eye of the League" narrative, and the out-of-control lazy talking points about Sam Presti caring more about compiling picks than building a contender.
Those talking points were awful at the time but look extremely silly now, as the OKC Thunder, two years removed from that lowly day, sit with a top-three record in the Western Conference (12-6) and a talent-rich roster.
Oklahoma City has an MVP-caliber point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a potential Rookie All-Star in Chet Holmgren, rising star Jalen Williams, another highly impactful rookie in Cason Wallace, and a plethora of role players that have helped push the Thunder into the win column more often than not this season.
On top of the players on the roster, Sam Presti still sits on a mountain of NBA Draft picks with the flexibility to trade for anyone that hits the market, maneuver up draft boards, and continue to elongate the competitive window of this Thunder team down the road.
Now, even other NBA executives agree, that the Oklahoma City Thunder have the brightest future in the NBA with the potential to dominate the league for a long time should things go according to plan.
The Oklahoma City Thunder earned 73 percent of the vote for the most promising young core according to other NBA executives in this preseason's GM Survey, and for good reason.
While the rest of this season has yet to be determined, one thing is clear, the OKC Thunder have climbed out of rock bottom and are heading in the right direction.