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June 12, 2024

OKC Thunder Road to Success


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The Oklahoma City Thunder have been going on a rampage this year, and it seems to be out of nowhere. They have many young stars that have been coming into themselves this season like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren. They have one of the best defensive ratings in the league and as an incredible firepower on offense. Chet Holmgren is a very good competitor to Victor Wembenyama in the Rookie of the Year Race as he is averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds, and an astounding 3 blocks a game. He is one of the main reasons for the Thunder’s success on defense and their #1 ranked defense around the rim according to ESPN.

Another huge piece to their success is their star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He is averaging a crazy 31 points per game(third in the league). He is also averaging 7 assists per game on very few turnovers a game. However, these star players are not the only key success of their team. The Thunder have one of the deepest rosters in the league and have many solid role players to help them close out games. These include both of the Jalen Williams’, who are both very talented young forwards who are great defenders alongside Chet in the paint. They also have Isaiah Joe, one of the best shooters in the entire league. Over his last 10 games, he is almost shooting 50% from three according to ESPN, which is one of the best we’ve ever seen in the history of the NBA.

Josh Giddey is also another key player in their success bringing many assists to their team and flowing the offense and the ball very well. However, some suspicious allegations are going on with him and a minor in Australia, his home country, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting traded/cut in the near future, as the increased cap space could give them room to acquire another star player in free agency at the end of the season.

Although these very talented young players are very important to the team, it isn’t the only reason for the team’s success. The Thunder coach, Mark Daigneualt, has freshened up the league from its “Monkey see monkey do” coaching style. What I mean by this is that almost all coaches in the league for the past 15 years have been copying exactly what every other coach is doing because they think it’s the best way to go about coaching. However, Daigneualt tweaked the normal, spaced-out pass-and-cut offense that we’ve seen in the league for the longest time and made his offense more attack-focused. Not only does this allow for the gifted passers of the team like Giddey and Williams to draw two defenders and kick out for an open three to players like Isaiah Joe, but it also helps players like Shai, who are very shifty and talented with the ball in their hand going downhill and drawing fouls, ultimately fouling out opponents big men, making the drive lanes much more open and lets the ball breathe a lot more. The combination of the young star players along with the unique coaching scheme, The OKC Thunder, and seeded first in the West and the sky’s the limit for their success going into the playoffs.

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About the Contributor
Lucas Van Dyke, Writer
Lucas Van Dyke is an eleventh-grader at Forest Grove High School. He likes to play basketball and baseball. He has one dog.

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