Okay, we're going to start this week's Bolts by ignoring that perplexing and frustrating loss to the Houston Rockets and start with a really nice feature by our old friend, Anthony Slater (The Athletic). Slater dives into how the Oklahoma City Thunder have already built a potential playoff team faster than expected.
The Thunder have only been out of the playoffs for two years. They had the league’s fourth-worst record both seasons. That produced Josh Giddey sixth overall in 2021 and Chet Holmgren second overall in 2022. Either may one day evolve into a superstar-level talent. But Gilgeous-Alexander already has, lessening the pressure on Giddey and Holmgren to pop as quickly or substantially. This rebuild has found its cornerstone.
The biggest news this week is how well represented OKC will be at NBA All-Star weekend. First, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams were both selected for the Rising Stars challenge. Giddey was also a selection last year. The game will be played on February 17 at 7 pm CT.
And it's now official that Shai will make his first NBA All-Star roster, being selected by the coaches as a reserve.
Nick Crain (Forbes) highlights SGA's addition to OKC's "rich history" of All-Stars.
In the first 12 years of the team being in Oklahoma City, four separate players earned this honor. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George and Chris Paul paved the way for a newly relocated franchise to emerge as one of the most consistent teams in the league over the first decade and beyond.
Seems like Shai had a good night after being named an All-Star.
In other news, Chet Holmgren received four votes to be an NBA All-Star starter.