The Oklahoma City Thunder have completed a rebuild at warp speed. After two down seasons, Oklahoma City returned to the postseason a year ago, making the NBA Play-In Tournament with a 40-42 record.
After knocking off the New Orleans Pelicans on the road, the OKC Thunder went to Minnesota, where the Wolves downed them to nab the eighth and final NBA Playoff spot, a date with the eventual NBA Champion Nuggets.
The Thunder were able to accomplish all of that without their lone top-five pick in this rebuild, Chet Holmgren, who missed the entire 2022-23 campaign with a Lisfranc Fracture. That absence was partly offset by the emergence of fellow 2022 Lottery Pick Jalen Williams, who earned Runner-Up for Rookie of the Year honors and the leap to superstardom by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
This season, OKC is off to a rip-roaring start, turning in an 18-8 record with some impressive wins on their resume.
In previous years, including last year's surprise season, the OKC Thunder have been a team many overlook. Even going as far as to rest their starters against or just overall sleep walk through a mid-season contest.
In 2023-24, the OKC Thunder are not only making the team's pay but changing their mindset altogether. Some of the best compliments for this Thunder team have been the praise from the other 29 teams, including mention of needing to be ready to play when Oklahoma City is on the schedule.
Anthony Davis' recent comments shows the OKC Thunder have changed the narrative this season.
Despite dominating the NBA In-Season Tournament, the L.A. Lakers have stumbled their way to a 15-14 record, and as the season is not trending in the right direction, the players are starting to take notice.
Following the Lakers seven point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, star big man Anthony Davis dubbed Saturday night's clash in Oklahoma City a "must-win" for the Purple and Gold.
This led OKC Thunder bench boss Mark Daigneault to sound off on Davis' comments, highlighting that while the team does not use this designation as bulletin board material, it is important to understand the mindset of your opponent.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to match the Lakers' intensity in this game as the Purple and Gold look to snap a four-game skid.