Obviously, OKC and Houston are tied together for a variety of reasons: the James Harden trade, the Russell Westbrook trade (and the draft picks entailed), the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery, the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery, the Alperen Sengun trade, and the general idea that both of these teams decided to start tanking around the same time.
So of course, everyone wants to compare the two teams. And on paper, the Thunder are winning the “race” back to relevancy. OKC has double Houston’s wins this season, and are just one game back in the loss column from sixth place. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a star. Josh Giddey feels like Ricky Rubio 2.0. Lu Dort is a legit 3-and-D-and then some guy. Jalen Williams is an interesting rookie. Kenrich Williams, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, and Isaiah Joe all stroke it well from deep.
And they’re doing all of this with the original Victor Wembanyama, Chet Holmgren. Yes, he’s going to be great. Yes, it’s annoying.
Finally, big thanks to Xiane for taking the Detroit Piston preview. I was back in Houston for a wedding and general family visiting, and he really came in clutch. And Houston won, so maybe he should be writing these more often.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest