Which players on the Thunder roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Josh Giddey
SG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SF Luguentz Dort
PF Darius Bazley
C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
Chet Holmgren (injured)
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
Chet Holmgren’s season-ending injury leaves a gaping hole for the Thunder at center. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is a decent stopgap option and Mike Muscala is a capable veteran, but the team might use Holmgren’s injury as an opportunity to see what Pokusevski can do. The two young players have similar builds and skill sets, so any schemes or sets the teams can make work with Pokusevski can remain in place next year when Holmgren returns.
Kenrich Williams has been a productive veteran off the bench but it may make more sense for the team to give some of his minutes to rookies Jalen Williams and Ousmane Dieng. When Holmgren returns next year the Thunder might be able to finally make a move in the standings to a playoff berth, and it will help if those young players have some game experience under their belts.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gilgeous-Alexander has been put on the shelf early each of the past two seasons, as the team was angling for the bottom of the standings and SGA’s All-Star level play was helping them steal win games they otherwise would have lost. It’s difficult to imagine that the talented young guard will tolerate this 3 years in a row. The team claims that this season their focus is on winning games while developing their young core; hopefully that is true and that there will be enough progress to keep SGA happy. His skill set combined with that of Josh Giddey’s has the making of a formidable backcourt.
Tre Mann might find himself in a more limited role with the addition of the rookies Williams and Dieng and the return to health of Giddey and SGA. It would not be a reflection on his abilities or how the team perceives him as part of their future core – it’s simply a numbers game and there’s more talent at the team’s disposal now than there was previously. Mann was surprisingly productive during his rookie year, averaging double figures in scoring, and he’ll be ready when his number is called upon. He’s also the type of player who might have value in a trade package if combined with several of the team’s many first round picks in an attempt to secure a bigger fish.