1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be an All-Star again.
Look, I know picking a dude that was 1st Team All NBA and #5 in MVP voting one year ago to make the All-Star game isn’t exactly bold. But the West is still loaded with talented guards. Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray. Kyrie Irving (joined the West after the All-Star break last year). Bradley Beal (joined the West this summer). Austin Reaves (if there’s Lakers fan voting shenanigans). Klay Thompson or Chris Paul (if there’s Warriors fan voting shenanigans), Ja Mo-kay maybe not that one.
Despite all that elite talent at Shai’s position in the Western Conference, SGA's now just too good to deny.
2. Vasilije Micic will be named a Rising Star.
One month after his 30th birthday.
3. Jalen Williams will be OKC’s second leading scorer this season.
Chet Holmgren gets all the buzz and for good reason. Josh Giddey always seems to be the third OKC player touted by national talking heads after SGA and Chet. And somehow the ROTY runner-up seems to be flying under the radar a bit.
4. Davis Bertans will lead the Thunder in three-pointers attempted per minute.
An OKC media member was in the middle of asking a question about Bertans, and Mark Daigneault interrupted to say “Shoots. He shoots.” And Bertans’ shot quantity has been a running joke with the media and Daigneault ever since.
5. Cason Wallace will make Thunder fans forget about Gradey Dick.
And Cam Whitmore. And Kobe Bufkin. And Dereck Lively. And Leonard Miller… (even though I have no idea how he fell to the second round and currently feels like the one who got away).
6. Lu Dort’s shot selection will be improved this season.
Everyone loves Lu’s defense. Everyone knows Lu can hit corner threes. It’s the rollercoaster rim finishes and other questionable shots from distance that have hurt Dort’s efficiency. But Lu said he was focusing on efficiency and shot selection, and in the preseason he was a man of his word. There will also just be fewer shots to go around in this Thunder offense by adding Chet, Micic, Wallace and Bertans.
7. Chet Holmgren will hit more 3s in his first game than former Thunder centers Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams combined to make for their OKC careers.
Once Chet hits his second three-pointer in the middle of the third quarter, this statement gets the checkmark.
8. Aaron Wiggins will continue to save basketball.
I gotta be honest, I don’t really get this meme but I think it’s funny and I’m just leaning into it.
9. Josh Giddey will double his free throw rate.
Giddey has said over and over this offseason that getting to the free throw line more was his biggest focus. His FIBA play showed it. His preseason play showed it. The increased free throw trips will be big for his true shooting percentage numbers.
10. Aleksej Pokusevski will not reveal what’s in the fanny pack.
11. Kenrich Williams will grow back his mullet.
This is just me putting it into the world because I want it to happen.
12. Jaylin Williams will lead the NBA in charges taken.
And in smiles given.
13. OKC will be flexed to more nationally televised games.
There might not be a trendier team in the NBA right now than the Thunder. If this young core is as fun and exciting (and good) as everyone expects, then we’ll be seeing more of Chuck, Ernie, Kenny and Shaq.
14. ESPN, TNT and ABC commentators will spend half the national broadcasts talking about Victor Wembanyama, a quarter of the broadcasts talking about Chet Holmgren and 90% of the broadcasts confusing Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams.
15. Mark Daigneault will win Coach of the Year.
He was runner-up last year. He heads up the buzziest team in the league. If OKC makes the playoffs, Daig’s got it in the bag.
16. Isaiah Joe will stay in the regular rotation.
Adding Wallace and Micic to an already crowded guard room will squeeze Zay’s minutes. But he’s too good of a shooter and spacer to get completely cut out. Daigneault will play 12 guys a night if he wants. The talent will find a way to the floor.
17. Ousmane Dieng will be a (mostly) nightly rotation player.
There’s lots of questions about Ous. And yes, he’s raw and young and this is a team with playoff aspirations. But given the lack of size and given how high OKC is on developing Dieng, I think he plays most nights. Not to mention, he’s continued to show flashes in Summer League and preseason.
18. Tre Mann will be involved in 70,000 fake trade machine trades before the trade deadline.
19. Michael Cage and Chris Fisher will not pay any bit of attention to the Thunder pronunciation guide.
I’m sorry, Vasilije.
20. The Bally Sports app will crash 27 times each time I try to watch a road Thunder game.
Daily Thunder gonna have to start flying me to away games just so I don’t miss anything. Editors, please add the donate to DT link here:
21. OKC will have 4 representatives at All-Star Weekend.
SGA will be an All-Star. JDub will be a sophomore Rising Star. Chet and Vasa will be rookie Rising Stars.
22. OKC will win 45 games.
I hate predicting wins and losses. There are so many unknown factors like injuries and trades around the NBA. A five game improvement may not seem like much given all the hype, but the West is loaded, improved and healthier. This is still a very young team. But this team will be much better. Which leads me to…
23. OKC will make the playoffs.
This isn’t a slam dunk by any means. There are only four West teams not in the playoff picture: the Blazers, Spurs, Rockets and probably the Jazz. So three really good teams will be left out. But my official prediction is that OKC nabs the 7-seed.
24. OKC will start out 1-0.
Calling my shot. Mark Daigneault ruins his mentor Billy Donovan’s home opener tonight. Thunder over the Bulls.
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