3. Oklahoma City Thunder
You might be surprised to see the Thunder on this list, but they have been one of the best Cinderella stories in the NBA this season, and they appear to be knocking on the doorstep of something special. Not only have these young overachievers battled to propel themselves into the play-in picture, but they have done so with the second-overall pick sidelined.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has become a superstar, Josh Giddey is nearing All-Star status, and Jalen Williams has established his name in the Rookie of the Year conversation with a stretch of impressive performances during the final leg of his first go-round in the league. They have found their core players, and Oklahoma City should now fill out their bench.
Much like Los Angeles, the Thunder need a point guard to command their second-unit offense when the primary ballhandlers take a breather. Jared Butler and Tre Mann have flashed intriguing scoring and playmaking skills. But their inconsistency and inexperience could hinder a ball club that may be ready to leap into perennial playoff contention.
Oklahoma City could clear approximately $31M in cap space this summer, and that is more than enough money to offer Tre Jones a lucrative payday once the offseason festivities commence. The Silver and Black can match any contract Jones receives since he is a restricted free agent, though he could still end up in a Thunder jersey if they hike the price tag.