Photo Credit: NBA.com
After a long hiatus, we are here to finish breaking down every NBA team before the NBA season starts. We continue with the bottom of the west. To check out the past teams in the West click here: Suns / Grizzlies / Twolves. For the Eastern conference click here: Hornets / Wizards / Knicks / Pistons / Cavs / Bulls / Magic / Hawks / Raptors / 76ers / Pacers / Nets / Heat / Celtics / Bucks
The Thunder had a major change this offseason moving from a team trying to contend, to going into full rebuild mode. It started by trading Paul George for a mountain of draft picks, followed by finally removing the heart of a team that could never get it done Russell Westbrook. The team also was able to get Shai Alexander from the Clippers, who could be a special point guard in the league one day. The biggest question mark is what will the team do with Chris Paul? Will Paul play games for them, will any team take him? Only time will tell.
G: Chris Paul
G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
F: Terrance Fergerson
F: Danilo Gallinari
C: Steven Adams
Bench: Andre Roberson, Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel, Dennis Schroder, and Patrick Patterson
This roster has no real chance in the West, so the key for the Thunder is learning what talent they have. Diallo, Noel, Schroder, Fergerson and Gilgeous-Alexander will be worth watching and deciding who should stay around. Shai and Chris Paul likely won’t fit together and in all likeliness eventually, the team will find a way to move Chris Paul out of Oklahoma City, making room for Diallo to play. Gallinari is a good stretch 4 to give these guards room to play on the perimeter and slash with a clear lane.
Prediction: 31-51 (12th in West) / Miss the Playoffs.
The Thunder are clearly rebuilding right now and have no real chance of making the playoffs in the West. Trading Westbrook lowered the floor for this team drastically, and the Thunder could quickly turn into the worst team in the Western Conference.
The team right now has some solid young guys to start the build, with a ton of draft picks coming there way. This team will clearly build through the draft with Oklahoma City not being a big free-agent destination. The team will look towards James Wiesman or Vernon Carey to pair with Shai, along with the picks from the Clippers this team could have a solid young core in as soon as a year. In the meantime, the team must look to sign players that can bring a winning culture to the lockerroom so when these draft picks walk in the building there is a culture in place.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder