The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the most fun teams to watch last season. Can they do it again this year? With one of the youngest teams in the league, they seemed poised to showcase their blossoming young talent spearheaded by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. This past off-season the Thunder waived Kemba Walker and Josh Hall while losing Tony Bradley, as he signed with the Chicago Bulls and Svi Mykhailuk who will be in a Raptors jersey this upcoming season. On the other side of the coin, they acquired Derrick Favors via trade while bringing in four new neophytes from this year’s draft – Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick, Tre Mann (18th), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (32nd), and Aaron Wiggins (55th). 

Last season, the Thunder finished the season with a 22-50 record which could have been much better if they were not actively tanking. By the end of March, OKC was around a .500 team but then decided that they were winning way too much and decided to shut down their star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and went on a miserable run winning only two games after the end of March. Just two. Some may call that tanking. Crazy, I know. The potential is definitely there for this young squad, but how do things shape up this year? 

The guard position will be full this year in Oklahoma City starting with the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The young star is heading into his fourth NBA season and seems ready to continue his ascent. Last year, in the 35 games that he played and started, he averaged 23.7 points, 5.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and nearly a steal on an exceptional 50.8% shooting from the field. As long as he does not get shut down or have any “mysterious” injuries, we should expect more of the same from SGA, if not better. He will undoubtedly be the number one option and the offense will run through him. I think he could average around 25 ppg this season along with 6-7 assists on great efficiency as well. However, do beware of the tank.

Lu Dort remains on the Thunder this season and will once again look to improve from his second year. Theo Maledon may also see a bigger opportunity this season, but I would not expect too much unless his minutes rise significantly while backup Ty Jerome should not be on many radars as of right now.

Rounding out the guard spots are rookies Josh Giddey and Tre Mann. If you’re a risk-taker like me and draft one or two rookies every year, Giddey may be a later-round dart throw due to his size and versatility. 

The forward position will be interesting this year as it is filled up with guys like sophomore Aleksej Pokusevski, Darius Bazley, and newly acquired Derrick Favors. The rest of the forwards that round out the position include Isaiah Roby, Kenrich Williams, and rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Not everyone is worthy of being drafted for fantasy, but the players that could make an impact are Poku and Bazley.

Poku did not have the best rookie campaign last season averaging 8.2 points 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and nearly one block with 34.1% efficiency from the field. I know, not great numbers, but now that he has had more time to adjust and if given an ample amount of minutes on the court he can and will produce. You can expect three-balls, once they start dropping, as well as rebounds, blocks, and points.

Bazley, on the other hand, showed some promise last year but we did expect more. He posted averages of 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds with an underwhelming field goal percentage of 39.6%. For a big man that is far from good in the field goal percentage department, but that is due to the abundance of three-balls that he would hoist up. This feeds into his questionable shot selection, but with some coaching, improved decision-making, and film study improvements can be made. Perhaps this is the year he does what many of us expected last season.

Finishing off the roster at the center position we find Mike Muscala. He will likely not be fantasy-relevant. There is no clear-cut center on the Thunder with many of the forwards listed could slide in here. If Mark Daigneault wishes, he could play Favors, Roby, and maybe even Poku at the five from time to time. 

Overall, the Thunder will be an interesting team to keep an eye on, even though they might end up being near the bottom of the Western Conference again. Thanks to their young core and promising play, they should produce some players this season that can help out your fantasy squads. Gilgeous-Alexander should definitely be on a team in every league while players like Lu Dort, Poku, and Giddey should be on many watchlists.