There have been many surprising developments in the NBA to start the 2022-23 NBA season, some for good, some for bad. It all adds up to one of the most entertaining starts to an NBA season in recent memory and has set the stage for what should be an equally exciting stretch of basketball over the ensuing months.
Durant is buying the Oklahoma City Thunder's strong start
One team that has been surprising for all the wrong reasons has been the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets' chaos has been well documented by now, but the guy who has managed to hold everything together is Kevin Durant. With Kyrie Irving returning to the team on Sunday night, the hope is that the Nets will be able to turn things around after a slow start to the season.
While the Nets have struggled out of the gates, one team that has exceeded their early expectations is Durant's old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Expectations for the Thunder were tempered after the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, suffered a season-ending injury over the summer. But the Thunder have taken the league by storm, and Durant is mightily impressed with how his old team has looked.
Durant highlighting the OKC shows they are beginning to catch the attention of the NBA
The Thunder are just 7-10 on the season, which may not seem overly impressive, but Oklahoma City seemed set for another rebuilding season after Holmgren's injury. Instead, they have proven to have a dynamic young offense led by guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and Josh Giddey. There have been a lot of negative surprises so far this season, but the Thunder have been quite a positive surprise.
Durant spent quite a lot of time with the Thunder earlier in his career, so it's not surprising that he's been keeping an eye on his old team. The Thunder have a bunch of solid young players, and they look poised to become a championship contender over the next few seasons.
Even with the praise they received from Durant, expectations shouldn't be raised too much for the Thunder, but it's clear that they are beginning to make some noise around the league. They likely won't achieve that much this season in terms of the playoffs, but that will change in the future. And if Durant is noticing their strong play, chances are many other guys across the league are seeing the same things he is seeing.