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Projecting the Oklahoma City Thunder Depth Chart

With the initial 15-man roster set, the SI Thunder staff projects the opening night depth chart for Oklahoma City.

The 2021-22 season is just a day away, and the Thunder have set their 15-man roster for opening night.

With the initial roster comes SI Thunder’s initial depth chart projections.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley and Derrick Favors are penciled in as starters when healthy, but the rest of the roster is a bit more fluid as general manager Sam Presti has built an incredibly young roster with plenty of positional flexibility.

Here is our depth chart projection:

Point Guard:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Theo Maledon
  • Ty Jerome
  • Tre Mann
  • Vit Krejci

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the no-brainer here. The 23-year-old committed long-term to the Thunder rebuild this summer, signing a maximum contract extension, and he’ll gobble up minutes at point guard. But behind him, the point guard spot is incredibly deep. Theo Maledon enters his second year with plenty of experience after leading OKC in minutes last year, but he’ll have plenty of help as well. Josh Giddey and Ty Jerome can both slide over and run the show, as well as Oklahoma City’s other first-round draft pick, Tre Mann. Vit Krejci remains an unknown, as he has yet to appear for the Thunder while working out visa issues.

Shooting Guard:

  • Josh Giddey
  • Ty Jerome
  • Tre Mann
  • Vit Krejci
  • Paul Watson Jr.

After nearly posting a triple-double in the preseason finale, the Josh Giddey hype train is moving full speed ahead in Oklahoma City. Coming from Australia’s NBL, little was known to most about Giddey before the draft, but he’s already proven to be a show-stopping passer. His partnership with Gilgeous-Alexander will be one to watch this year as the Thunder hope he can be back court running mates with the former Kentucky star for years to come. Jerome, Mann and Krejci could all put in a shift in reserve of Giddey, as well as two-way player Paul Watson Jr.

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Small Forward:

  • Lu Dort
  • Kenrich Williams
  • Aaron Wiggins
  • Paul Watson Jr.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of OKC’s preseason slate is that Lu Dort continues to be money from 3-point range. If the entire lineup is healthy, there will be plenty of floor spacing and great passing between Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey, and Dort should be the beneficiary of that duo on the offensive end to pair with his elite defense. Quintessential hustle-guy Kenrich Williams will come of the bench again for the Thunder adding plenty of extra juice to OKC’s second unit. Second-round pick and two-way player Aaron Wiggins will do well learning from Williams, as he also had a game modeled after great defensive effort and an efficient mid-range game during his collegiate career at Maryland.

Power Forward:

  • Darius Bazley
  • Aleksej Pokusevski
  • Isaiah Roby
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
  • Gabriel Deck

Darius Bazley appeared to get off to a good start in the preseason, and he’ll need to carry that momentum into the regular season in what is shaping up to be a big year for the former New Balance intern. Entering his third year, he’s shown enough high-end flashes to stay around in Oklahoma City, but he’ll need to pair that with some more consistency this year. Similarly, second-year player Aleksej Pokusevski will need to be more consistent behind Bazley. Pokusevski had an up-and-down rookie season, but finished with a nice stretch of games that he hopes to carry into Year 2. Isaiah Roby and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl can both slot in at power forward for OKC, though they’ll both likely be deployed more as small-ball centers for the Thunder, and Argentinian Gabriel Deck waits in the wings to show the Thunder brass what he can really do with an entire preseason to get acclimated to the team.

Center:

  • Derrick Favors
  • Isaiah Roby
  • Mike Muscala
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Derrick Favors and Mike Muscala will bring the veteran leadership at the center spot, but Roby and Robinson-Earl should all get plenty of time as well. Since moving on from Steven Adams, the Thunder appear to be committed to playing small, and this is an intriguing group of centers to make that happen. A diverse unit, there is defensive mettle and rebounding prowess as well as the ability to step out beyond the arc and stretch the floor. If Favors indeed stays on the roster for the duration of the season, the center spot should be an entertaining watch for the Thunder all year long.