If you are looking for an NBA team that represents the modern way a front office operates, Oklahoma City Thunder is your squad. Coming into this season the Thunder made the most roster moves over the last two years, trying to build a contender after the Kevin Durant/Westbrook Era ended. Not long ago they brought in our friend Carmelo Anthony in a win now move. Today? It’s all about tomorrow.
Oklahoma City surprisingly made it to the playoffs last season where they were a Cinderella 5-seed. They battled mightily against the 4-seeded Rockets but ended up getting eliminated. The offseason was made of more maneuvering, and the organization is all about collecting draft picks. The trades of Chris Paul, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroeder netted more choices, and the overhaul is exactly how GMs are looking to compete in small markets across the NBA. The number of draft picks, lottery balls to try and win a superstar, is the currency of teams unable to compete right now for the title. This year the Thunder have three 1’s, in ’22 a pair of 1’s, in ’23 an amazing four first-round picks. At the moment the Thunder are the 12th seed in the Western Conference, but it doesn’t matter. Now is not what counts.
What kind of core do the Thunder have right now to mesh with the picks?Here’s some key players to the Thunder’s season and information to start betting. It all starts with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, an up and coming star who is the focal point of the team. OKC is willing to watch him grow, and build around his talent with cheap young players and a slew of picks. Darius Bazley is also a young player the Thunder like. Al Horford is an oversized contract that was taken on by the Thunder to be able to acquire more picks for it.
Hill is one of the more established Point Guards in the NBA today. The Thunder acquired Hill from the Cavaliers. This is his 6th NBA team, averages 11.8 points per game, 2.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Unfortunately, the 34-year old will not miss up to a month with a thumb injury. He won’t likely be around by the time the Thunder develop their young players.
Darius Miller comes to the Thunder from the New Orleans Pelicans. The small forward averages 6.0 points per game, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. What a story of resilience. Chosen at the end of the draft, he played with the Iowa Energy and Brose Bamberg in Germany. He was thee German League Finals MVP.
Playing as a Power Forward for OKC, Williams averaged 4.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Another castoff, he was undrafted out of TCU. The Thunder are looking for diamonds in the rough to flesh out a young team.
This is what the modern NBA has become, although OKC has taken it to a crazy level. They are looking to hit Power Ball with their picks, and until then trying to uncover some surprise players. Will it work? It’s a long bet, but potentially lucrative.