2. Oklahoma City Thunder
A change of the guard in the West is inevitable. LeBron James is almost 40 years old, the Warriors are falling apart, and all of the Clippers’ stars are past their prime.
New teams are knocking on the door. The Timberwolves, the Grizzlies, the Kings, and the Thunder all want to be the next great thing in the West. Memphis has a lot to figure out now, and Minnesota’s team seems to have an expiration date.
The Kings and the Thunder, however, could battle for top seeds in the West for years to come. Between De’Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren, they have loads of young talent. All of these players could meet in the playoffs and in All-Star games for large parts of their careers.
So far, the two teams have played each other twice this season, and the Kings won both games. The Thunder are leading the Kings in the conference standings, however, and will unquestioningly make the playoffs.
Oklahoma’s young squad still has a lot to learn and the Kings still have things to figure out to avoid falling behind but they could form one of the next big rivalries in the Western Conference soon.