The Oklahoma City Thunder has exceeded preseason expectations, let’s take a look at three reasons explaining how and why they have overachieved thus far.
In an NBA offseason that saw the dynamic of the Oklahoma City Thunder drastically alter with the departure of two franchise cornerstones Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the organization was presumedly set to endure a prolonged rebuild.
The return hauls were something to marvel at, as the Thunder received two top-4 protected picks and two pick swaps from the Houston Rockets for Westbrook and Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five first-round draft picks from the LA Clippers for George.
However, the immediate future had many questioning which direction the team would enter.
Would they offload their veterans to contenders for returning assets to fuel the rebuild? Would they attempt to retool and acquire complementary assets around their youthful talent and perhaps the likes of Chris Paul? Or would they ride it out and hope for the best?
Well, 54 games in the 2019/20 NBA season, the Thunder opted to not do anything drastic—or anything at all at the trade deadline—and are riding this thing out. They’re sitting at 32-22, in sole possession of the 7th seed in the Western Conference, and have the makeup of a team no contender would want to face in the opening round of the playoffs.
So how have we gotten here? How has this team defied all odds and emerged from the depths of NBA purgatory? Well, let’s zone in one three specific reasons that allude to how this team has exceeded expectations.