State of the Franchise: Thunder in search of a co-star

InsideTheThunder.com's State of the Franchise series continues, this time detailing Oklahoma City's hectic trajectory this season and the current state of the roster
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Oklahoma City’s roster situation this season has been tumultuous to say the least.

The Thunder have thrown 23 different starting lineups out in 55 games, usually a conglomerate of rookies, undrafted players and the occasional veteran.

Heading into the final stretch of the season and inevitably the offseason, there’s a clear goal for Sam Presti and the organization: find a co-star for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and continue to develop young talent.


SI Thunder's State of the Franchise Series:


Post-trade deadline with no buyouts on the horizon, here’s a tier breakdown of the Thunder’s current roster:

Tier I: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

There’s a clear No. 1 on this Thunder squad.

Gilgeous-Alexander has exceeded any and all expectations this season, raising his offensive output to 23.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. He’s added 4.7 points and 2.3 more assists to his game this year, but the story doesn’t completely lie within the stats.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been a clear and decisive floor general, pacing the Thunder offense and being the direct component in overachievement this season. He’s ranks 3rd in the league in clutch points per game, a whopping 4.7 on average.

Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shoots a 3-pointer over Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.

Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shoots a 3-pointer over Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.

The most clear indicator of his improvement is his shooting from beyond the arc. Miraculously, Gilgeous-Alexander has improved his 3-point percent from to 34 to 41-percent while attempting 1.3 more threes per game.

Next season and beyond, the Thunder’s success level is entirely dependent on someone joining SGA as a co-star in Tier I.


Tier II: Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, Al Horford

Luguentz Dort has a knack for shattering offensive expectations. The guard is averaging 13.3 points on 34-percent three-point shooting this season, an exceptional jump from last season.

Not to mention he’ll be in conversations for All-Defensive teams as just a second-year, and guards opposing No. 1’s more than any defender in the NBA.

He’s also an enigma to rank. As written following his performance against the Jazz, “role players don’t have 30-point Game 7’s, or score 42 points while playing elite defense on Donovan Mitchell for 36 minutes.”

Should Dort make another offensive jump next season, he could very well join SGA in Tier I.

OKC's Luguentz Dort shoots the ball over Philadelphia's Matisse Thybulle

OKC's Luguentz Dort shoots the ball over Philadelphia's Matisse Thybulle

On the flip side of that coin, Darius Bazley has thus far had a bit of an underwhelming season, but still has the potential and stats to be placed in the second tier.

He’s still just 20-years-old, and averaging 12.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Al Horford, now shut down in search for a new destination, provided valuable minutes for OKC as a stretch big.


Tier III: Kenrich Williams, Ty Jerome, Svi Mykhailiuk, Mike Muscala, Isaiah Roby

The third tier is mostly made up of pieces that should continue with the Thunder.

Ty Jerome is the clear surprise of the group. At 10.0 points per game and 3.5 assists off the bench, its clear Jerome will be a mainstay within the ever-changing Thunder roster.

The second-year is shooting 39.7-percent from beyond the arc.

In his first meaningful NBA season, Isaiah Roby has looked impressive in both backup and starting roles. Should he continue to improve on his 8.8 points per game and 5.7 rebounds he'll find himself in OKC for awhile.

Kenrich Williams seems to have hustled himself into a longterm role with the Thunder.

The opportunity was there for Williams, who’s averaging 7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season, to be dealt at the trade deadline, but OKC didn’t pull the trigger. Going forward he’ll continue to be a solid role player providing maximum effort in each game.

Svi Mykhailiuk has been a nice surprise.

Sent over from the Pistons in the Hamidou Diallo trade, the forward is averaging 9.9 points per game on 45-percent field goal percentage. He fits much better with the currently assembled roster.

Thunder forward Svi Mykhailiuk goes up for the layup. Mykahiliuk was acquired from the Pistons in the Hamidou Diallo trade

Thunder forward Svi Mykhailiuk goes up for the layup. Mykahiliuk was acquired from the Pistons in the Hamidou Diallo trade

Mike Muscala, like Horford, has provided some of his best NBA minutes for Oklahoma City, but his time with the team seems to be winding down.


Tier IV: Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon, Moses Brown, Tony Bradley

A precursor to this tier: it isn’t based on value, just production as an NBA player.

Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon have more than impressed in their rookie seasons, and will quickly climb tiers in the coming years.

Pokusevski has more than proved he belongs on an NBA court scoring, especially post-G-League bubble, averaging 12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 16 games. Maledon has provided genuinely valuable guard minutes, scoring 9.7 points per game.

But for now Maledon and Pokusevski are shooting 37 and 33-percent from the field, respectively, good for second and third last on the team.

Thunder rookie Aleksej Pokusevski splits a pair of Mavericks defenders to go to the rim.

Thunder rookie Aleksej Pokusevski splits a pair of Mavericks defenders to go to the rim.

The centers, Moses Brown and Tony Bradley have both overachieved in scoring and rebounding, but are questions marks moving forward.

Should Brown maintain his current level of play, 11.3 points and 11.2 rebounds a game since his return from the G-League, he’ll be a mainstay.

Bradley has scored 9.1 points and grabbed 7.2 in 10 games off the bench with OKC.


Tier V: Justin Robinson, Josh Hall, Jaylen Hoard

The project tier.

Justin Robinson, Josh Hall and Jaylen Hoard will all continue to be developed as the season progresses, but their long-term fit with the team is up in the air.

Hoard especially has provided valuable minutes, scoring 7.2 points per game in around 20 minutes per game.

Robinson has gotten little run on his 10-day contract, and Hall is an undrafted rookie whose development has been up-and-down due to injuries.