The Oklahoma City Thunder won just 24 games this season but showed glimpses of a bright future ahead, led by rookie Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and an impressive cast of young players.
While they have the youngest roster in the league, the Thunder are quietly building a team of the future. And as they continue their rebuild, they’re focused on taking a big leap next season.
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“Hopefully the playoffs,” Giddey said on NBA Australia’s Courtside Huddle of his ambitions for next season.
“That’s what we all want. We’ve got a hungry group, we’ve got a young group, but the direction we’re headed in is really good.
“Everyone’s on the same page, so I think the playoffs is a really realistic thing for us.”
Giddey was named to the All-Rookie Second Team after an impressive freshman season that saw him scoop four Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards and lead the rookie class in triple-doubles (4).
In January, Giddey became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double and then followed it up with three-straight, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (1960-61) as the only rookies to ever achieve the feat.
He also joined Luka Doncic for the most triple-doubles by a teenager (4) and is the first teenager to record three in a row.
Despite the individual accolades and historic milestones piling up, Giddey says he only has one focus.
“The individual stuff is good, but I want to win championships,” he said.
Many expected Giddey to be named on the All-Rookie First Team after leading all rookies in assists and finishing second in rebounds and eighth in scoring, but after being left off the First Team and not receiving a single vote for Rookie of the Year, the Aussie is set to take that motivation into the offseason, where he says he wants to make “a lot of changes.”
— josh giddey (@joshgiddey) May 19, 2022
“I think the summer is where we guys separate themselves in the league and you see a lot of improvements being made in the offseason,” Giddey said.
“So hopefully getting a lot stronger in the weight room, working on my shot. So there’s a lot of things I’ve got to get better at, so I’ll spend a lot of time in the gym this offseason.”
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Alongside their already strong nucleus of young players, the Thunder will add even more high-end talent to the roster in the upcoming NBA Draft, where they’re armed with two lottery selections.
The Thunder own the No. 2 overall pick and No. 12 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, most likely adding one of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero or Jabari Smith Jr., giving them an elite big man to complement their swath of guards and wing players.
With the continued improvement of Giddey, Gilgeous-Alexander and co., alongside two more lottery picks, can the Thunder make a postseason run in 2022-23?