For the first time since 2008, the Oklahoma City Thunder will not have Russell Westbrook on their roster. On top of that, they will also not have Paul George on the roster as well, as both were traded to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers respectively. In return for those trades, OKC got Chris Paul, Danillo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, […]
For the first time since 2008, the Oklahoma City Thunder will not have Russell Westbrook on their roster. On top of that, they will also not have Paul George on the roster as well, as both were traded to the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers respectively.
In return for those trades, OKC got Chris Paul, Danillo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and a bunch of draft picks, in hopes to start off the new era in Oklahoma on a high note.
After a 49-33 campaign last season, how will they do this season? Let’s take a look at the roster.
*Quick note here is that some teams have already made roster cuts before the season starts, so the guys who have been cut will not be mentioned until the Projected Lineup/Roster Cut section*
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Chris Paul
- Dennis Schröder
At 34, does CP3 want to spend his last few years in the league rebuilding? Unlikely. However, it’ll be tough for OKC to trade away Paul. Many teams already have an established starter and his contract might be a problem for teams (three-years, $124 million). We may see him in another uniform this season but for now, he’ll be a huge veteran presence in the young roster.
Gilgeous-Alexander is someone you should keep an eye on this season. The former Kentucky Wildcat was selected 11th overall in 2018 and had a solid rookie season. He played in all 82 games for the Los Angeles Clippers, averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 steals, and 1.2 assists per game on route to winning All-Rookie Second Team honors. Schröder is a former Atlanta Hawk that’ll look to continue his role as the backup guard that can score off the bench for ease.
- Hamidou Diallo
- Luguentz Dort *Two-Way
- Terrance Ferguson
- Devon Hall *Two-Way
- André Roberson
Diallo is a high-flying guard that won the 2019 Dunk Contest. He did spend some time in the G League last season and will look to have an expanded role this season with the youth movement in OKC. Ferguson is another young guard that averaged 6.9 points last season. Roberson is a solid defender that did not play as all last season after suffering some setbacks from knee surgery two years ago. Dort and Hall will both be on the roster this season under the two way deal, so they’ll get a lot of playing time for the Oklahoma City Blue.
- Darius Bazley
- Deonte Burton
- Danilo Gallinari
- Abdel Nader
Gallinari was one of the players acquired in the Paul George trade. Gallo has been a great scorer wherever he has played and that will be the same coming into this season. At 31, he may be on the move during this season at some point if they want to give their younger guys more playing time. Burton and Nader are young forwards that provide depth for the team.
Bazley is an interesting prospect. He was a former top high school recruit that almost played at Syracuse but ultimately decided to skip college and play overseas for a year before entering the draft. He was selected 23rd overall in this past draft and it would not shock me if he plays a ton in the G League to develop his game. If he develops nicely, he could be a steal from the 2019 draft class.
- Mike Muscala
One true power forward here in Muscala, who has had stints with the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Gallinari will likely slide in the PF spot in the starting lineup but Muscala is a solid bench presence for the team.
- Steven Adams
- Nerlens Noel
- Justin Patton
Adams is heading into his 7th season with the team. He is a big-bodied center that excels in the pick and roll game that can get a double-double with ease. Noel was a former 6th overall selection back in 2013 but injuries have hampered and sort of momentum. He will look to be a backup this season once again and when healthy, he is a solid defender to protect the paint. Patton was drafted 16th overall back in 2017 but has only played in four career games between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers due to injuries. He looks to be healthy this season and will finally get a chance to show what he is made of.
Billy Donovan is heading into his 5th season as the head coach. He has a 199-129 career record and has made the playoffs every season he has been the head man. The problem? He has not made it past the first round in his last three seasons. It is shocking to think due to the roster he has had during his time there. He has a younger roster, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does here.
Projected Lineup/Roster Cuts
- PG: Chris Paul
- PG/SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- SG/SF: André Roberson
- SF/PF: Danilo Gallinari
- C: Steven Adams
- Sixth Man: Dennis Schröder
- Key Role Players: Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel, Terrance Ferguson, Mike Muscala
- Rest of the Bench: Abdel Nader, Justin Patton, Darius Bazley, Deonte Burton
- Two-Way Players: Luguentz Dort, Devon Hall
- Roster Cuts: Abdul Gaddy, Myke Henry, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, Eric Moreland
As you can see, outside of Paul and Gallinari, there is a lot of young players on this roster. I am interested to see how guys like Gilgeous-Alexander, Diallo, and Ferguson, in particular, do with an expanded role this season. Guys like CP3, Gallo, Adams, and maybe Roberson could be on the move if OKC really wants to go full rebuild.
Expect the Oklahoma City Thunder to be towards the bottom of the Western Conference. They could have their moments but there is a new era in OKC and will see what the future holds for them.