The luck of the Oklahoma City Thunder just did not got go their way in the offseason. The objective of this organization was to pile up on a plethora of future draft capital, and one reason is to draft a talent like Chet Holmgren. Unfortunately, Holmgren will miss the whole 2022-23 season because of a foot injury that was incurred in the Pro-Am match.
Beginning with that statement already shows that the Thunder will not be a legitimate threat to even reach the play-in tournament this season. With the looming Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson in the 2023 NBA Draft, that will likely be the direction OKC will be heading, especially if they start on the wrong foot. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey will once again lead this squad, but it will be insurmountable for them to make any sort of noise this season.
SGA grows frustrated with Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is entering his fourth season with the Thunder and fifth overall in the NBA. His averages have been phenomenal as he tallied close to 25 PPG last season with a substantial amount of rebounds and assists as well. The problem has been the losses have been piling up for the Thunder in the tenure of Gilgeous-Alexander as the lead guy of the franchise.
Games missed are also a concern for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but this is probably due to the organization deciding to rest their main guys after the All-Star break. As a competitive NBA player who plays at an elite level, this season may be the tipping point for the Canadian guard as another 50-60 losses this season may affect his confidence and mentality.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s DNA does not show signs that he would demand a trade or anything of that sort, but the front office will need to communicate with him more and be more specific with the direction they want to achieve.
Giddey has impressive shooting season
With his NBA Summer League and preseason numbers, it is a given that Josh Giddey will be a stellar sophomore this season. Maneuvering through pick-and-roll situations and finding the open spots will be done at a more efficient level for the Australian guard. The glaring weakness in his game that will be addressed this season is his jump shot and outside shooting prowess.
Giddey does not need to be Trae Young or Stephen Curry in terms of outside shooting, but he will need to be an above-average perimeter player to keep defenses guessing. The floater and mid-range shot is present, so he will need to convert those at a higher percentage. It is normal for rookies to struggle with their shot selection initially but knowing the work and determination he has on his craft, it would not be a surprise for Josh Giddey to be a more well-rounded player this year.
Jalen Williams lands on All-Rookie 2nd Team
The 2022 NBA Draft was a deep bunch, but one unheralded name is Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams. As an athletic 6’6″ wing who can shoot, defend, and most especially a high basketball IQ. The Thunder will likely utilize their main rotational pieces for the first couple of months, but it will be imperative for their lottery pick in Williams to get a ton of runs as well.
With Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey not being pure scorers, having someone like Jalen Williams will fill the void in that department. Williams is a three-level scorer, who also executes pick-and-roll situations to perfection. The high basketball IQ is very evident in his decision-making in uptempo situations and Williams has been admirable in that facet ever since his college days.