Despite their youth, the Thunder are ready to take on the challenge of the playoffs

Don’t look now, but here comes the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They may be overlooked because of their age, but make no mistake: these young Thunder are real.

Since the 1970–71 season, the Thunder are the youngest team to finish with the best record in their conference, with a weighted average age of 23.92. This was one of the best surprises of the season after finishing only tenth last year, and this incredible jump left people in awe of their performance.

During the season OKC finished:

  • 2nd in net rating: +7.3
  • 3rd in offensive rating: 118.3
  • 4th in Defensive Rating 111.0
  • 1st in 3P%: 38.9%
  • 1st in stealing: 8.5
  • 1st in blocks: 6.6
  • 1st in turnover forced: 15.7
  • 1st in the contested FG: 47.4
  • 1st in Points from Turnover: 20.5
  • 1st in Bench 3P%: 40.3%

These are phenomenal numbers for a team as young as they are, and the level of maturity and discipline within their youth is off the charts.

The Thunder are led by their young superstar and MVP frontrunner Shai Gilgeous Alexander, who averages 30.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists at age 25; has more than 50 games of 30 points or more, leading the league’s second-youngest team atop the West. Gilgeous-Alexander is also the only Thunder player ever to average 30 consecutive points, an impressive feat for a franchise that once had Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden on one team.

Jalen Williams has emerged as a star in his second season and is a true No. 2 behind SGA’s MVP act. Williams has everything you need for an ideal ‘Robin’: scoring on three levels, playmaking ability and tenacious defense – the 23-year-old simply radiates all-star potential on two levels. And he has an insane grip too, with the Thunder relying on him to have the ball in his hands often in the 4th quarter and he has delivered for them more often than not.

Chet Holmgren is coming off one of the most impressive rookie seasons in recent memory, and without a superhuman year from Victor Wembanyama, Holmgren would have been the clear frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award. The seven-foot beanstalk has taken the Thunder to newer heights this season by improving their defense and being the final piece to complete the puzzle. Last season, OKC struggled without a legitimate big man who could protect the rim. With Holmgren in the fold it was a completely different story for the team. What’s more is that Holmgren can spread the floor and knock down threes when he needs to, and it’s something the Thunder have that makes them even more dangerous and harder to guard.

OKC is a team built on insane chemistry, which shows the bond these guys play with each other. This has translated into joy and confidence on the court, leading them to play basketball at a high level, and every win and loss they faced during the regular season has only made them stronger as a group. This has helped them overcome adversity and they hope they can accomplish this during the playoffs.

When the dust settled, it was clear to everyone: the Thunder had one of the best seasons they’ve had in years. They secured the No. 1 seed in the West for the first time since 2012, the year they advanced all the way to the NBA Finals. And they certainly hope they can replicate that with this group this year.

‘We have to do it now. We go into the play-offs 0-0,” head coach Mark Daigneault emphasized that what happened in the regular season no longer matters.

Teams may think it’s an easy task to get through, but the Thunder will be ready for battle. For a team that “over-performed” during the regular season, they want to prove they are not to be messed with and plan to make a deep playoff run.