Expectations are low for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Entering the 2021-22 season, OKC is projected by the Las Vegas Sportsbooks to have the lowest win total, putting the franchise in pole position for the best odds in the 2022 Draft Lottery.
Unfortunately, the Thunder’s fast start will probably put them behind the 8-ball, as it features contests against potential playoff teams in the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and two contests each against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
But OKC’s close to the season could actually benefit them in the end, despite the tough run in.
Last year, the Thunder infamously beat the Los Angeles Clippers as the Clippers looked to position themselves for a more favorable matchup, hurting Oklahoma City’s chances in the draft lottery.
As OKC closes up shop in 2022, they’ll face road trips to Denver, Portland, Utah, the Lakers and the Clippers, as well as hosting Atlanta, Phoenix and Portland.
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Seven of the Thunder’s last eight will come against teams who participated in the playoffs last year, and Oklahoma City could be looking at dropping six or seven of their last eight as they again position themselves to obtain the best odds for the lottery.
Oklahoma City will just have to finish with one of the three worst records in the NBA to tie for the best draft lottery odds as the 2022 draft shapes up again to be incredibly talented at the top.
Chet Holmgren, Jalen Duran, Jaden Hardy and Paolo Banchero have all captured the imagination, paving the way for another race to the top of the draft.
For that reason, the Thunder’s close to the season could actually flip and end up benefitting the team down the home stretch.
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