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Analyzing Oklahoma City’s Potential Second Unit

The Thunder could have some extra help off the bench next season with a fun potential lineup.

Plenty of off-season attraction has been on Oklahoma City’s young stars, and rightfully so.

The Thunder added the No. 2 overall pick in Chet Holmgren, while he and Josh Giddey lit up the summer league. The duo showed flashes in so many areas, but had quite a few highlight plays in the pick-and-roll.

Individual improvement in Oklahoma City’s stars was a big storyline too, as Giddey clearly put on weight and muscle. The Thunder star still has to improve his outside shooting, but this summer was a successful experience for the Australian.

In the midst of the summer league excitement, there were also big contracts signed. The Thunder extended both Lu Dort and Kenrich Williams to long term deals, locking in key pieces of the future. Dort was rewarded with a massive payday, stepping into the off-season spotlight, while Williams looks to be a key leader of this second unit.

One area of Oklahoma City’s squad that nobody seems to be discussing is the bench unit. Over the past few seasons, the Thunder have had spotty depth on the roster. When star players have gotten injured down the stretch, it leaves the lineups bare. But now, by developing young players and using draft capital, the Thunder could actually have a relatively deep lineup next season.

Oklahoma City drafted Jalen Williams in the lottery, and after an impressive summer league session could help man the backup ball-handling duties as well. His presence on the floor will go a long way for the Thunder’s backup guards.

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In addition to Williams, the Thunder drafted Ousmane Dieng in the late lottery as well, which adds additional length on the wing. He had a rough go-around shooting the ball in July, but displayed plenty of the creation skills that landed him in the lottery.

Filling out the second-unit, Oklahoma City will be able to move either Darius Bazley or Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to the bench. Adding starting experience and extra size will really bolster a reserve group that struggled mightily at times.

The most important piece to the bench, though, is Tre Mann. The Florida product was unbelievable at times last season, but has struggled to stay consistent. Mann didn’t experience the success he expected in his short summer stint, but his development is absolutely crucial for Oklahoma City. He can bring energy and shooting off the bench that the Thunder have needed since Russell Westbrook’s days.

Whatever the reserve unit may look like next season, it’s in much better shape. If Oklahoma City does experience a multitude of injuries down the stretch, there will be talent to hold down the fort this go around.


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