The Thunder capped the 2021 season with their 1st round rookie hitting a game winning 3 pointer with under a minute left in a game versus a team many consider the favorite to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. And the vast majority of OKC fans were completely frustrated and heartbroken.
A fittingly bewildering way to end probably the most bizarre season in Thunder history.
After getting comfortable riding shotgun in a tank for the past month and a half, concluding the season with a win over a conceding Clippers team trying to avoid the crosstown Lakers left a bitter taste in Thunder fans’ mouths. Now the long wait until the draft lottery takes place on June 22nd to discover if Poku’s career night cost OKC a chance at a top 5 pick.
With all the handwringing over kissing goodbye to the hopes and dreams of Cade Cunningham to OKC, the most important question concerning the Thunder season finale concerns ping pong ball percentage points. Specifically, how big a dent did the Thunder’s Big 3 of Aleksej Pokusevski, Josh Hall and Moses Brown and their best impressions of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden circa 2012 put into Oklahoma City’s lottery odds?
The Thunder’s current odds of a Top 4 pick are 45.1%. If the Thunder had lost the Clippers game, their odds of a Top 4 pick would have been 50.1%.
The Thunder’s current odds of at least one Top 5 pick are 75.22%. If the Thunder had lost the Clippers game, their odds of at least one Top 5 pick were 83.4%.
The Thunder’s current odds of two Top 5 picks are 24.56%. If the Thunder had lost the Clippers game, their odds of two Top 5 picks were 28.8%.
Without a doubt, OKC’s odds to add blue chip, elite talent in the form of the much ballyhooed Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga took a hit because the Thunder hit everything against the Clippers. But it’s also true that OKC is still in prime position to add one (or two) of the five possible franchise cornerstones to the current young core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Poku… and apparently, Josh Hall and Moses Brown.
This summer still has the potential to be an exciting and pivotal one for the future of the Thunder. And if the ping pong balls come up OKC, then we’ll all look back and give a mental makeover to the 2021 Thunder season finale. Because the one thing nobody is talking about in all the chatter about next year’s 1st round rookies is that this year’s 1st round rookie just closed out his debut season with a personal coming out party.
The Thunder opened the 2021 season with an SGA game winner. The Thunder closed the 2021 season with a Poku game winner.
Now we all wait to see if the Thunder celebrate the summer as a lottery winner.