The Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2023-2024 schedule just dropped and it’s a doozy.
There’s no greater proof that national buzz is building about OKC’s young core featuring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren than the fact that the NBA gave the Thunder an impressive 8 nationally televised games on TNT and ESPN this season. And if you’d like to count them, an additional 5 nationally televised games on NBATV.
OKC opens their season on the road against Mark Daigneault’s former boss Billy Donovan and the Bulls on October 25th.
Of course, there are the usual suspects of fun games that every Thunder fan looks forward to, like Russell Westbrook’s return or LeBron and the Austin Reaves-led Lakers coming to town. But I’ve gone through all 82 games and picked my Top 5 favorite matchups I’m most looking forward to watching this season.
5. Orlando Magic. 2/13/23. Paolo vs Chet. (TNT)
The NBA did Thunder and Magic fans a solid and decided to give us a make-up game. Every year, the #1 and #2 overall draft picks are given a nationally televised game. Paolo Banchero versus Chet Holmgren was on tap last year but was bumped once the OKC rookie was ruled out for the season. Little did everyone know at the time that the two teams still ended up with the top two rookies of the year. One season later, we finally get to see a battle of the top two, err, top three rookies of 2022.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves. 11/28/23. Play-In Revenge Game.
OKC’s young upstart squad sans Chet and Kenrich Williams was one game away from crashing the playoffs a season or two or three earlier than anyone predicted. After beating the Pelicans in the first play-in game, the Wolves’ size with Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert overwhelmed the smaller Thunder. Enter Chet. No, he won’t solve all of OKC’s size issues, but he’s a big start. Consider this a double entendre measuring stick game.