Grading the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2021 NBA offseason
Last season, the Thunder went 22-50, which put them 14th in the Western Conference. General manager Sam Presti has spent the last few years building a young core, and this offseason was no different.
Numerous stars have been traded away from the Thunder in recent years, including Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Most recently, the Thunder dealt Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2nd-round pick to the Boston Celtics for Kemba Walker, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick. The Thunder later agreed to a buyout with Walker, and he signed a deal with the New York Knicks.
The Thunder were very active in the draft, bringing in more young players. They drafted Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, Aaron Wiggins, and acquired the rights to Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The biggest move the Thunder made was extending star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a 5-year $172 million deal. Gilgeous-Alexander will be the star of the team while the young core is built around him.
The rebuild is off to a good start, but the Thunder still have a ways to go.
Thunder Offseason grade: B
The Thunder may not be a competitive team this season, but their roster has a ton of potential. This season will be all about developing players and formulating the core of the team. Gilgeous-Alexander has the potential to make his first All-Star this season, and the Thunder have young talent that could compliment him.
Last season, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 23.7 points per game along with 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He also shot 41.8 percent from behind the arc on 4.9 attempts per game. That was a huge jump for him as he had shot 34.7 percent the previous season.
With his new extension, Gilgeous-Alexander can really grow with the rest of the young core.
The most highly anticipated drafted player for the Thunder is Josh Giddey. Giddey was taken with the 6th overall pick in the draft, and he is a great all-around player. He played in the NBL Australia league last season and averaged 10.9 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds and 7.5 assists. Giddey is primed to be a productive player for the Thunder, even in his rookie campaign.
The next Thunder draft pick came at number 18 when they selected Tre Mann. Mann was a great player in his sophomore year for the Florida Gators. Last season, Mann averaged 16 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He also shot an efficient 40.2 percent from three on 4.7 attempts per game. Mann should have a scoring impact off the bench for the Thunder this season.
After selecting Mann, the Thunder traded for the rights of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Robinson-Earl should be a solid backup forward this season. Last season at Villanova, Robinson-Earl averaged 15.7 points per game along with 8.5 rebounds. The Thunder are loaded with young talent, and it is unknown how much time on the floor Robinson-Earl will get. He needs to take advantage of any time he gets on the floor and prove his worth.
The last pick in the draft for the Thunder was Aaron Wiggins. He was taken with the 55th pick in the draft, and he will have a hard time getting minutes. Wiggins will be fighting for a roster spot this season and could spend time in the G-League. Last season at Maryland, 14.5 points per game along with 5.8 rebounds. It was his most productive campaign in college, as he showed what he can bring to the table.
The Thunder were clearly active in the draft, and have a plethora of players with potential. It may take a few years for the Thunder to be competitive, but they are on the right track.