Now as the season nears, still 2 months away, the NBA has dropped the team schedules. No, I will not be going through every game and breaking it down play by play. However, we will be looking at 10 key games and how they could drastically change the look of the entire season. These are ranked by date.
Game 1, Oct 22 vs Timberwolves: This game is a key game to me due to the fact that both of these teams have made a few key off-season changes. I believe this will be the first real test OKC faces next season.
Game 2, Nov 22 vs Warriors: This is a key game seeing as this will be the first time we see Russ/PG vs KD/Curry and it is at home, be there or be square. I think this will set the tone for the rest of the season.
Game 3, Dec 13 @Pacers: This is a big game because it is Paul George’s first time back in Indiana after being traded. Expect to see a huge game out of him.
Game 4, Dec 25 vs Rockets: This is a huge game for Russ & Co. as they go head to head against the new look Rockets after adding CP3 (Melo?). It is another game that is a “prove it” game for OKC, and HOU respectively.
Game 5, Jan 03 @Lakers: You may not see it, but this one game could decide OKC’s future for years to come. Think about it like this, playing the “new look” Lakers in LA. If we blow them out it may lead to PG and Russ to decide the grass is not greener, but if we lose, oh boy.
Game 6, Jan 20 @Cavaliers: Big game depending on how the Kyrie trade goes. If CLE goes into rebuild mode or in “win-now” mode to keep Lebron. If Cavs are legit contenders this a huge game towards the final third of the season.
Game 7, Feb 06 @Warriors: Another big game against the Warriors, only this time it is in their place. This could really have to do more with playoff seeding than anything. However, I am saying that this is still a “prove-it” game. I think if OKC beats GS at home then travels to oracle and beats them on their own court it would be very impressive.
Game 8, Mar 20 @Celtics: This a huge game towards the end of the season to help momentum going into the postseason. I think if we can play well or beat the possible 1 or 2 seed in the East, it will be tremendous for our confidence.
Game 9, Mar 20 @Spurs: Huge game for playoff implications. I think OKC is in the 3 or 4 seed, while the Spurs are between the 1 and 3 seed. Both teams are within a game or two of each other and this win could change a lot on the playoff landscape.
Game 10, Apr 7 @Rockets: Another game for playoff seeding. It should be OKC/SA/HOU in place for 1/2/3 seeds and the difference between 2 and 3 could be decided in this game.
Now that we went through that, my schedule prediction for the Oklahoma City Thunder 2017-18 season is anywhere between 48-55 wins. I am expecting about 52 wins.