At 6 p.m. on Tuesday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Detroit Pistons will face off in a rebuilding grudge match.
Of course, there’s no real rivalry behind the Thunder and Pistons matchups currently, but there soon could be. With multiples of some of the best young players under the age of 25, the Thunder and Pistons could be on the opposite end of the standings in the next few years.
With strikingly similar players, rebuilding paths and trajectories, Oklahoma City and Detroit have walked hand in hand through the NBA’s muddiest waters in the past few seasons. And it’s likely they’ll emerge as contenders at a similar time.
Aside from being the two best players on their respective teams, OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham share similar games as well.
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Lengthy guards who play with a cerebral, surgical style of play. Both with the ability to pass, extend beyond the arc and defend multiple positions. And both of whom play alongside guards who need the ball in their hands in Josh Giddey and now Jaden Ivey.
Extending further, each team loves taking risks on lengthier upside picks. By this time next year, Detroit could even have their hands on someone who rivals Chet Holmgren’s skill as a 7-footer.
Of course there’s plenty of other teams who are currently battling it out alongside OKC and Detroit near the bottom of the standings: Houston, Orlando, Indiana, San Antonio.
But Oklahoma City and Detroit are, for my money, the two with the biggest chance to make a splash in the coming years.
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