Championship Odds: +8000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 19.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.3 APG
Chris Paul: 17.7 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.9 APG
Danilo Gallinari: 19.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.1 APG
Dennis Schroder: 19.0 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.7 RPG
Steven Adams: 10.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.4 APG
Nerlens Noel: 7.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.5 BPG
Players Sitting Out
Isaiah Roby is the only player sitting out for the Thunder, and he only played 3.7 MPG in 3 games all year. The team signed veteran wing Andre Roberson who hasn’t played since 2018 due to a ruptured patellar. At only 28 years old, the once all-defensive team member can add much needed depth for the Thunder at shooting guard, should his comeback be successful.
|8/1||Utah Jazz||3:30 pm||ESPN|
|8/3||Denver Nuggets||4:00 pm||NBATV|
|8/5||LA Lakers||6:30 pm||ESPN|
|8/7||Memphis Grizzlies||4:00 pm||NBATV|
|8/9||Washington Wizards||12:30 pm||FS Oklahoma|
|8/10||Phoenix Suns||2:30 pm||FS Oklahoma|
|8/12||Miami Heat||8:00 pm||FS Oklahoma|
After being pronounced dead following an offseason that featured a buzzer beating exit from the playoffs and the departure of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the newest entires in a long list of superstars who have left the franchise, the Thunder have stunned nearly everyone in the league by not only making the playoffs, but doing so in sound fashion. Thanks to the added leadership of Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder, along with the development of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and other young players like Luguentz Dort the Thunder have exceeded expectations and enter the bubble with a playoff spot secured, fending off the Rockets for the #5 seed.
As the season comes down the stretch, teams will be playing their best groups as much as they can and more than usual. This means that when the Thunder play we will likely see one of my favorite things in the entire league; OKC’s 3 point guard lineup consisting of SGA, CP3, and Dennis Schroder. When these guys are together on the floor there is no trio better, literally, as their +28.6 net rating is the best off any three man group that has played more than 200 minutes together this season. The three guard lineup also allows Danilo Gallinari to get open looks, and Steven Adams control the paint, which will be a lethal lineup when on the floor.
This team has lots of talent and potential all over the place. Only one game behind the #4 seed entering the seeding games, this is a dangerous team that you cannot write off too early. They’ll struggle with teams built around wing players, which will be the championship-level teams, but this group can certainly make a little run into the second round or better.