The OKC Thunder, The surprisingly quiet team
This offseason, not a lot of people expected the Oklahoma City Thunder to make moves. After a first-round exit in the playoffs last year to the Portland Trail Blazers, many people believe OKC would keep that same nucleus of players they had. Instead, that had an unexpectedly busy off-season. With a couple of blockbuster trades and they had a brand new team to work with and build up. While many saw them as a bottom-tier team in the western conference, they are unexpectedly in the playoff race with a winning record to show for it.
The OKC Thunder
The Blockbuster Trades
With the busy offseason they had, the Thunder had acquired a lot of pieces for the present and the future. The first major trade they made was when they sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. In return, the Thunder acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, and two pick swaps. With their second major trade, they traded franchise star Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. With that, the Thunder received Chris Paul, two first-round picks, and two pick swaps. It seems the intention of doing this was to start over and begin from scratch. With this basketball season seen as a rebuilding year for them, many thought they would build a young core of players that would be acquired with those draft picks.
Their Play this Season
When the season started, it didn’t start off strong for the Thunder when they started off 5-10. It wasn’t until early December after an overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves when the tide of their season started to turn in their favor. They would start to win more games with wins over the Clippers, the Raptors, the Mavericks, and the Rockets twice. Right now, they sit at sixth place in the Western Conference holding a record of 33-22. This is due to the unexpected rise of chemistry within the team as a whole. With Chris Paul’s passing complementing the scoring of Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari, along with the play of Dennis Schroder off the bench, the Thunder are flourishing. Many players had big games this year as well. Including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who made history by becoming the youngest player to ever record a 20/20/10 triple-double in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 13, 2020.
What was seen as a growing year for the Thunder, it has turned into a potential playoff year for them. That is scary to think as another NBA team knowing all the draft picks they have acquired. Remembering that Sam Presti, who is the general manager for the Thunder, once drafted three MVP’s for three straight years. Those picks were Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden from 2007 to 2009. With his ability to pick talent, Presti has the ability to makes some deals with the draft picks he has to make this team better. A new era has begun in Oklahoma City, and it’s only going to get better from here on.