The team executives of the Oklahoma Thunder won’t be marketing next season as a “playoffs or bust” type of year. While it’s fair to wonder if they would make the postseason if Chet Holmgren did not suffer an offseason injury, everyone knows that this young team might be languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference standings by the time the season comes to an end.
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The team’s biggest gain quickly became their biggest loss of the season. Holmgren’s arrival shook the entire state of Oklahoma in a good way. So when fans found out that he would be missing his first year in the league due to a foot injury, they slumped and groaned loudly. Thunder fans can now look forward to the 2023-24 NBA season instead. (Reference: TBS)
The team also added Trey Burke and Chip Engelland. Both will play important roles for the organization next season. Burke looks to be a solid addition since he is a bench player with decent scoring and ball-handling skills. Engelland is a popular shooting coach who spent most of his career with the San Antonio Spurs. With Engelland on board, the team will be hoping that they won’t finish last in field goal shooting percentage again.
The Starting Five
PG – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG – Josh Giddey
SF – Luguentz Dort
PF – Darius Bazley
C – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Giddey managed to average around six assists per game last year and we are left to imagine what those numbers could be if Holmgren was healthy or if Gilgeous-Alexander, the team’s top scorer, can play every game. Let’s not forget that Giddey has the potential to be a triple-double threat in every match, too. So even without a full Thunder squad, Giddey alone will make the games fun enough to watch.
For the other players on the roster, it’s about making the most out of the playing time. For injury-prone players, they have to prove that they have fully recovered and can be part of the rotation. And for the frontcourt players, they have to show their worth all year long knowing that they can be replaced by a healthy Holmgren next season.
One Potential Move to Make
Adding a veteran player could do wonders for the squad. The Thunder need someone who understands that he’ll have no playing time at all and act like an extension of the coaching staff instead. This is someone who can be a chaperone to the team’s youngsters, who are quite new in the world of professional sports. Is someone out there willing to play that role?
Next season will be the perfect year for the squad because they will find out that their young players can hoop. Look for at least a few players on the roster to come out on their own and show they belong in the big league. They will also get the added bonus of having a chance to draft the most sought-after prospect in Victor Wembanyama.
Season Prediction: 25-57, miss the playoffs
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