Preseason basketball is right around the corner.
The Oklahoma City Thunder open their 2021 preseason slate on Oct. 4 when they host the Charlotte Hornets, and they’re expected to enter training camp on Sept. 28.
As the roster appears to be rounded out for the most part, it’s time to start filling out the Thunder depth chart.
In the lead up to the start of training camp, InsideTheThunder.Com is projecting the depth chart at each position group, continuing today with the power forwards.
Starter: Darius Bazley
Darius Bazley had another up and down season last year for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but finished the year on a nice stretch of games as he was more aggressive in attacking the basket. In a massive year for the former New Balance intern, Bazley will should have one last chance to prove he should play a role in the Thunder’s future, starting at power forward for the team. Bazley may have a short leash, however, as he showed promise to close his rookie season before a disappointing start to his sophomore campaign.
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Backup Power Forward: Aleksej Pokusevski
Aleksej Pokusevski’s size and skillset allows him to play virtually every position on the floor. The Serbian will likely see plenty of time in reserve of Bazley, utilizing his size to space the floor as a stretch big for Oklahoma City. His versatility will see him get plenty of minutes this season across a number of different positions as the Thunder make the transition to a more position-less style of basketball.
No. 3 Power Forward: Gabriel Deck
Arriving late last season, Gabriel Deck only featured in 10 games for Oklahoma City last year. While Deck displayed a nice arsenal of offensive moves around the basket, his range proved to be limited as he only shot 13.3 percent from 3-point range. Deck’s defense was a positive as well, and he should get more run this season after returning to Oklahoma City in the wake of his Olympic performances for Team Argentina.
No. 4 Power Forward: Isaiah Roby
Isaiah Roby gave OKC nice minutes off the bench last year when he came in to play the 4 for the Thunder. Though he struggled when slotted in as a small ball center, Roby was able to use his athleticism on the perimeter to get to the bucket in what was essentially his rookie season. Roby will likely see time at both power forward and center, but expect him to be much more effective in relief of Bazley.
No. 5 Power Forward: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Another guy who will likely see action at both power forward and center is second-round draft pick Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. During Summer League action, Robinson-Earl flashed the defensive instincts and high work rate that have become the hallmarks of Villanova basketball. On top of anchoring the defense, Robinson-Earl also displayed a little range, stepping out and knocking down enough attempts from deep to stretch the floor and provide a perimeter scoring threat for the Thunder.
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