Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder have done it.
They traded away Paul George in the wee hours of the night and got back a litany of draft picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari. This then prompted Russell Westbrook to find a way out, which ended up in an exchange for Chris Paul.
After those trades, it seemed the franchise was ready to start a new journey. A new chapter, if you will (shoutout to KD, we still hate you). The NBA world seemed to think so as well, with some websites predicting the Oklahoma City Thunder finishing as low as 13th in the Western Conference. ESPN gave OKC a 0.2 percent chance to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, which prompted a legendary picture that Thunder fans use to this day.
Nevertheless, here we are, with the Oklahoma City Thunder currently sitting in the fifth seed in the Western Conference. They are heading to the playoffs (100 percent sure). Their range of outcomes varies though, they could finish as high as the second seed, or as low as the seventh seed. One thing is for sure, the Thunder are in the postseason.
Before those important games begin, I present to you, in all of its glory, the Oklahoma City Thunder seeding games schedule:
Thunder Schedule Predictions:
Game 1: Utah Jazz, 8/1, 3:30 PM EST
Season Series: 1-1 on the season, five-point loss in the first game of the season, 14 point win in December.
This game has big ramifications for one reason alone: this is the game that shut down the NBA season. You know those things I said about OKC making the playoffs? Well, had they won the game against the Jazz in March, they would’ve been the four seed. With the chemistry shaky at best between Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, along with losing Bojan Bogdanovic to season-ending surgery, I like OKC’s chances.
Game 2: Denver Nuggets, 8/3, 4:00 PM EST
Season Series: 1-1 on the season, eight-point loss in December, and 14 point home victory in February.
The Nuggets have depth flowing from every pore, which makes them a tough matchup for the Thunder. The big question mark here is this: is a skinny Nikola Jokic as effective as the.. well for lack of a better term, not skinny Jokic? It’s entirely possible the Nuggets big man doesn’t miss a beat despite his weight loss and recovery from the coronavirus. But if he has some hiccups, Steven Adams could be in for a huge game. That being said, it feels like a game we would lose, the Nuggets always give us problems.
Game 3: Los Angeles Lakers, 8/5, 6:30 PM EST
Season Series: 0-3 (oof), three and five-point losses in a four-day stretch in November, and a 15 point loss to a Lakers team without LeBron James or Anthony Davis in the lineup.
It’s not very likely we win this game, as the Thunder don’t really have anyone that matches up well with LeBron and that dude is kind of good at basketball. Tie that into the fact this is before the playoffs, and LeBron will be playing on another level. Our chances are slimmer than slim.
Game 4: Memphis Grizzlies, 8/7, 4 PM EST
Season Series: 1-1 on the season, four-point victory and 13 point loss at home in a span of 8 days.
The Grizzlies have been a fun young team to watch led by rookie Ja Morant. They are a formidable team as evidence by being the current eighth seed in the Western Conference. Memphis will no doubt be playing with a chip on their shoulder as it would seem the league wants any number of teams to have their playoff spot. That being said, I think we get back on track here and take care of business.
Game 5: Washington Wizards, 8/9, 12:30 PM EST
Season Series: 0-1 on the season, which features an embarrassing 12 point demise in the second game of the season.
The Wizards being in the seeding games is pretty much laughable at this point. There was some noise John Wall may be healthy and ready to help with a playoff run, but those rumors were put to rest by Wall himself.
Davis Bertrans, in line for a huge payday, has ruled himself out of traveling to Orlando with his team. So why are they even there? They could realistically be 1-4 by the time we matchup, so even though I think we could beat them while they are giving full effort, I think they will be lobbying for the highest draft pick they can get from within the bubble.
Game 6: Phoenix Suns, 8/10, 2:30 PM EST
Season Series: 2-0 on the season, 18 point victory in December, and a four-point win in January.
I’m not worried very much about this game. The Thunder have historically played very well against the Suns, and Phoenix will potentially be in the same position as the Wizards at this point in wanting to tank within the bubble. Devin Booker is a special player, but with or without them at full health (Kelly Oubre Jr. opting out of Orlando to rehab knee), the Suns don’t shine bright against the Thunder.
Game 7: Miami Heat, 8/12, 8 PM EST
Season Series: 0-1 on the season, seven-point loss in January.
The Heat are as big of a surprise as the Thunder are this year. Miami has been exceeding expectations all year and has vaulted itself to the top half of the Eastern Conference. In their January matchup, the Heat threw a zone at the Thunder that made it difficult to score. I think if our shots are falling, we can beat this Heat team. But given that’s a very strong if, I will cede the L here, although a four-game win streak would be very nice (shoutout Borat).
Game 8: Los Angeles Clippers, 8/14, TBD
Season Series: 1-2 on the season, two and 15 point losses in November and March, six-point victory in December.
At this point, it’s very possible the Clippers have locked up seeding and may very well rest the kings of load management in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. If that’s the case, I think we actually match up decently against Los Angeles. I am going to give OKC the W here in hopes they can carry momentum into the beginning of the playoffs.
There you have it, those are my predictions! Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know about it in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter @ThunderChats!
Basketball is coming soon!