As the new NBA season is creeping up around the corner, team's can finally start circling dates on the calendar. The 82-game regular season schedule was released on Wednesday, giving fans an extra reason to be excited.
The Thunder's core group will look different this fall after adding three lottery picks, including Chet Holmgren at No. 2. After Holmgren and the young guns had a successful Summer League stint in Utah and Vegas, fans are eager to see the team in action.
Now that Oklahoma City has a clear idea of what the 2022-23 season will look like, here are some of the most intriguing matchups and dates to jot down.
Chet Holmgren's debut: October 19, 7 p.m., at Minnesota
Holmgren's debut could be the start of Oklahoma City's turnaround. After two long season, the Thunder have a clear path back to contention and it starts behind three young stars in Holmgren, Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
It shouldn't take Holmgren too long to settle in considering he dropped 23 points and six blocks in his first Summer League action.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's return to Los Angeles: February 7, 9:30 p.m.
The infamous 'I'm Him' shot.
There's not much more to be said about that night in Hollywood. Gilgeous-Alexander buried the Lakers and drilled one of the most iconic shots in his young NBA career.
Chet Holmgren vs Paolo Banchero: November 1, 6:30 p.m., in Oklahoma City
Holmgren and Banchero weren’t able to square-off in the Summer League, but the two teamed up in Jamal Crawford’s pro-am league. They put on an absolute show, adding to the anticipation of the first regular season matchup.
The No. 1 vs No. 2 pick debates are always fun, and both the Thunder and Magic got talented franchise players. When the stars take the court in November, all eyes will be on the top of the 2022 draft.
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Josh Giddey's return to Madison Square Garden: Sunday, November 13, 11 a.m.
One of Giddey’s best performances last season was a New York City masterpiece.
The Australian poured in a dazzling 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in an overtime battle against the Knicks. That game was one of the most exciting Thunder games all season and fans are surely looking forward to part two.
Chet Holmgren vs Jabari Smith Jr (Thunder vs Rockets): November 26, 7 p.m., in Houston
The Thunder and the Rockets seem to have a (small) rivalry brewing. Both teams happened to go through competing and rebuilding cycles at the same time, leaving plenty of room for comparison.
The comparisons will only grow, as OKC and Houston picked back-to-back in this summer’s draft. Holmgren and No. 3 pick Jabari Smith will help kick off a new era of basketball this season, and square off in November. Both franchises seem to be trending up.
Chet Holmgren vs Keegan Murray: January 20, 9 p.m., in Sacramento
Murray was the talk of Vegas Summer League, pouring in a ton of points on efficient numbers. The Kings were questioned after passing on Purdue’s star guard, but Murray has looked like the right pick so far.
Chet Holmgren vs Jaden Ivey: November 7, 6:30 p.m., in Detroit
Ivey is one of the most electrifying rookies in the 2022 draft class. He showed off his elite athleticism in Vegas before rolling an ankle. If NBA fans are lucky, Holmgren and Ivey will meet at the rim a few times in November.