NBA insider thinks the OKC Thunder have the ability to upset a top seed in the 1st round

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The playoff chase in the Western Conference is as hot as it gets, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are a surprise team that are right in the the thick of it.

Right now, the Thunder are one of the four teams projected to compete in the play-in tournament and are the No. 8 seed in the conference. However, they are just one game back from the No. 6 seed, the final spot to advance straight into the playoffs.

Whether the Thunder end up having to compete in the play-in tournament or manage to leapfrog into the playoff bracket, NBA insider Zach Lowe believes that they are a team to watch.

In fact, he thinks that the Thunder have what it takes to upset a high-seeded team in the first round of the playoffs.

“Either Minnesota or Oklahoma City is going to get into the playoffs, and they’re going to be like 2-2 with a big name in the first round and be like, ‘Oh my God, how did that happen?'” he said. “I think both the Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves) and the Thunder could win a first-round playoff series.”

It is definitely a hot take coming from Lowe, but there seems to be a real path both for the Wolves and Thunder in the playoffs. Both teams are filled with young talent and have been getting some good momentum at the right moment.

For the Wolves, they just got Karl-Anthony Towns back from a long injury absence. Fellow star Anthony Edwards is now out with an ankle injury, but there appears to be hope that he’ll be back soon.

As for the Thunder, they’re currently riding an incredibly strong string of games in which they’ve gone 8-2 in their last 10. They’re being led by star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is clearly the player that they are building the franchise around. Along with him, the team is being led by players like Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort.

What’s scary for the rest of the league is that the Thunder have taken a huge leap in their rebuild without the contributions of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren. He’s missed the entire season with a Lisfranc injury. Once he returns next season, the Thunder could become a major threat in the West.

The Thunder have 10 more games on their regular season schedule before the postseason gets underway. If they can keep winning at the rate that they have been lately, a playoff berth is not at all out of the question.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.