Oklahoma City Thunder Receive Brutal Criticism Before Playoffs

Chet Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Oklahoma City Thunder were the most surprising team in the NBA during the 2023-24 regular season. While many people expected to start seeing improvements from them after their teardown rebuild, not even the most optimistic of projections could have seen this coming.

Not only did the Thunder improve, they turned into one of the best teams in the NBA. They were in the top three of the Western Conference for the entire season and took home the No. 1 seed for the postseason on the final day of the regular season.

Oklahoma City was in a tight battle with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves for weeks. Ultimately, they outlasted their Northwest Division foes and took home the No. 1 seed, finishing ahead of Denver on a tiebreaker.

This is a talented Thunder squad led by MVP candidate, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They have a budding two-way start in Chet Holmgren and an All-Star caliber player in Jalen Williams as their Big 3 to build around.

However, not everyone is convinced or ready to list the Thunder among the elite teams in the NBA. One of the people showing hesitancy is Pro Football Hall of Famer turned analyst, Shannon Sharpe.

During a recent segment on ESPN’s First Take, Sharpe discounted what the Thunder were able to accomplish during the 2023-24 season. He believes they are one of the weakest No. 1 seeds we have seen in a long time.

While the Thunder don’t have many household names to the casual NBA fan, they certainly earned their position in the standings. They had the second-best plus/minus ratio in the league and performed at a high level consistently.

However, Sharpe may have a point when he says that no one fears the Thunder. They are the youngest No. 1 seed ever in the Western Conference and are inexperienced when it comes to NBA postseason basketball.

A veteran-laden team that can play a physical style of basketball could present the Thunder with some issues. They have had struggles this season on the boards, ranking near the bottom in rebounding in the NBA.

In the postseason, that could present some issues. But, the Thunder should not be taken lightly. While teams may not fear them, they certainly should respect them. If they don’t Oklahoma City could make quick work of their opponents in the coming weeks.

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