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 shooting guards.
Starter: Josh Giddey
Josh Giddey played as a point guard in the Australian professional league, the NBL, but after the progress Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed last year, Giddey is projected to be the secondary ball handler for the Thunder at shooting guard.
The 6-foot-8 guard projects to be a great playmaker as many have hailed that he might be one of the most gifted passers in the 2021 draft class, but it remains to be seen what kind of scoring punch the Australian can bring to Oklahoma City.
There is precedent of players successfully making the jump from the NBL to the NBA however, and making their presence felt immediately.
Representing Sam Presti’s highest draft pick since James Harden, Giddey should be given every opportunity to grow with the starting lineup from the jump.
Backup: Lu Dort
While Lu Dort should be the starting small forward for the Thunder (more on that tomorrow), he’s shown he’s plenty versatile enough to slot in at the 2 if that’s what OKC requires.
Dort’s offensive game took a step forward last year, especially down the stretch in the absence of Gilgeous-Alexander, and it will be exiting to see what the undrafted free agent from Arizona State can do back alongside his Canadian running mate throughout the 2021-22 season.
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No. 3 SG: Ty Jerome
Ty Jerome is one of the more versatile pieces off the Thunder bench.
He’s a proven distributor, but he can also wreak havoc playing off the ball due to his impressive 3-point range.
Not only does Jerome provide and extra scoring punch when playing off the ball for the second unit, it allows the Thunder to get both Jerome and Theo Maledon on the floor at the same time, continuing to develop their young core throughout the season as Oklahoma City builds for the future.
No. 4 SG: Tre Mann
If No. 18-overall pick Tre Mann finds himself in a logjam at the point guard spot, his shooting prowess, much like Jerome, could also be an asset playing off ball for OKC’s second unit.
A threat from deep, having shot 40.2 percent from 3-point range last year at Florida, compared with his athleticism and ability to get to his spots on the floor should make for a potent scoring threat from the bench while Mann acclimates to life in the NBA with the Thunder.
No. 5 SG: Aaron Wiggins
Aaron Wiggins already flashed what kind of spark plug he could be off the bench during Oklahoma City’s Summer League experience in Las Vegas.
One of OKC’s two-way players, Wiggins should be able to fill the role left vacant by Hamidou Diallo as a player who can get thrown in and play either shooting guard or a small-ball 3 for the Thunder and bring plenty of energy and defense to the lineup.
Wiggins excelled in the mid-range back at Maryland, and it’s a skillset he said he’s intent to carry over to life in the NBA, which should help the floor spacing regardless of who he plays alongside off the bench as the Thunder have plenty of second unit guards who project as 3-point sharpshooters.
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