Following another roster overhaul, Oklahoma City won’t have high expectations heading into the 2021-22 season.
The Thunder have let loose players like Al Horford and Kemba Walker, and will instead be banking on the production of players like Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley and of course Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Here are InsideTheThunder.com’s predictions for Oklahoma City’s upcoming season:
Nick Crain: 23-59
Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder won the fewest games in their short history. With that in mind, it was a shortened season, so it actually wasn’t their worst record ever.
With that in mind, I’d imagine the 2021-22 season could be another one of the worst seasons in Thunder history. In fact, 23 wins for a second-straight season sounds about right. This time around, it’ll be in an 82-game season, meaning their record would be 23-59.
This would be competitive for the worst record in the entire NBA, leading OKC to a great shot at the top pick in the lottery. Based on the direction they’re going in the rebuild, this would actually be a great scenario for them this season. It’s about developing talent and positioning the team to add another superstar rather than winning games.
Ryan Chapman: 26-56
The Oklahoma City Thunder enter the 2021-22 season with probably the worst roster in the NBA, but only because we’ve yet to see the continued development of Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort, Bazley and Aleksej Pokusevski, as well as what first-round draft picks Josh Giddey and Tre Mann can bring to the table.
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Gilgeous-Alexander had the Thunder well on track to outpace their win total last year before getting shut down for the season, and I think he’ll have his team performing above expectations this year as well.
But in the end, I expect plenty of overly cautious load management for the entire roster which will prevent the Thunder from mounting anything resembling a challenge for a play-in tournament spot. OKC should find themselves in the thick of the race to the top of the Draft Lottery yet again.
Derek Parker: 28-54
OKC currently has one of the worst rosters in the league, even with the star power Gilgeous-Alexander brings along.
Getting rid of former stars like Horford and Walker means that development will be the name of the game for the Thunder this season.
Should Oklahoma City’s slew of young prospects develop and progress as players, the win total could skyrocket. But without a clear picture yet as to what that will look like, it’s hard to predict and potentially unlikely to happen.
I would predict a lot of experimental lineups and usage for OKC this season, which historically doesn’t bode well for a young team’s record. But Gilgeous-Alexander is sure to lead the Thunder to a few wins himself.
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