The Oklahoma City Thunder have leaped their way out of a rebuild in what feels like record time. It was not long ago the National Narrative around this team was that the Thunder were "the Black Eye of the League" with pearl-clutching about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's future in Bricktown and Sam Presti's love for draft picks.
Last season, the OKC Thunder leaped up to a 40-win season, earning a spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament despite their lone top-five pick of this rebuild being lost for the season. After a two-year postseason hiatus this rebuild felt like it was kicked into hyperdrive.
Now, the Black Eye of the League narrative shifts to "why aren't the Thunder trying to win and go all in?!" which falls flat as Oklahoma City owns a 13-6 record, the second-best mark in the Western Conference through 19 games.
Mark Daigneault's recent comments should shed an annoying narrative surrounding the OKC Thunder.
Oklahoma City is trying to win night in and night out, and it is working out in their favor. With an 8-2 record in their last ten games, a 7-2 road record, and a .684 winning percentage it is hard to keep criticizing the Thunder's approach.
Still, that does not stop most of the media and even some of the Thunder's own fanbase. The cold reality is that the Thunder's version of going all in is likely not trading for a star. It is simply letting the young players develop and grow. Making a move in the margins to sure up the starting five or adding a key role player.
The more fair approach to this Oklahoma City squad is applauding their early season success, given how young this team is. It is rare to find a team with such little experience burst out of the gate like this in a nearly 20-game sample size.
Mark Daigneault was asked about this phenomenon and pushed back on the young team narrative, saying a lot of those talking points can be "applied to all teams." The OKC Thunder bench boss added, "We are more focused on trying to be a good team rather than a good young team."
After each loss, social media turns into a dumpster fire of the Thunder fanbase overanalyzing each decision the team makes. With what I can only assume is a lack of trust, fans question the motivation of the team if the result does not break their way.
Mark Daigneault's recent comments should be used as a shield against that annoying narrative. While it is impossible to win every game, and sometimes, through the course of an 82-game season, you get creative, and it does not work your way (and sometimes it does!), each loss is not a referendum on the season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to win every time the ball is tossed in the air. They will not win every time, but so far this season, they are victorious more often than not.