The Oklahoma City Thunder may have fallen one win short of the postseason, but the club still took massive steps forward in 2022-23. The Thunder won 16 more games than in 2021-22, with much of that due to the exciting young core that the team has spent the past few years building. Standing at the head of that class is fifth-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who developed into one of the best young players in the league after being named an All-Star for the first time and earning a spot on the All-NBA First Team. Gilgeous-Alexander finished fourth in the league in scoring at 31.4 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and over 90 percent at the foul line with an NBA-leading 669 made free throws. His 45 games of at least 30 points also led the league, and he joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the only players in franchise history to average 30 points in a season. The Thunder selected Jalen Williams with the 12th pick in the 2022 draft and he produced a season worthy of a spot on the All-Rookie First Team after averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals across 75 games to finish runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. In just his second season in the league, Josh Giddey averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists as one of the lead playmakers for an offensive unit that ranked fifth in the league in points per game. Oklahoma City defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in the team’s first play-in tournament game before falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves, coming up just shy of the Western Conference’s number eight seed.
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