Chet Holmgren, Jaylin Williams, Jaylen Williams, Ousmane Dieng
Last season Record: 24-58
Projection 2022/23: 26-56
Let us begin with the elephant or perhaps the giraffe in the room, and that is Chet Holmgren. The prized rookie out of Gonzaga suffered a season-ending injury during the CrawsOver Pro-Am league back in his home state before his season could even begin. This is a huge downer for real life and fantasy purposes as Chet seemed poised to be a difference maker in both facets. Was Chet going to be the X-factor that brought this young Thunder squad to a play-in scenario at best this season? Almost certainly not. However, he was going to bring energy and excitement to a franchise in need of that type of cornerstone since the departures of Durant, Westbrook and Harden. Still, Chet should be the first rookie off the board in any dynasty or keeper format while in redraft leagues you do not touch him at all.
This roster is set in the backcourt with Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander holding down the point and shooting guard positions respectively. SGA is a solid pick in the third round of any draft format with strong percentages, scoring, and assists without hurting you anywhere except a lack of threes, which are easy to find later. Giddey, on the other hand, while dynamic with the assists and rebounds will hurt you in multiple other areas. Last season Giddey was:
41.9%FG, 70.9%FT, 1 three, 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks
While there is a decent scope for improvement as he heads into year two of his NBA career, the issue I have is where you are going to need to take him in drafts this season. I have no problem taking him in the seventh or eighth round but you will not find him there. Instead, he is going top 55 on a consistent basis in mock drafts and that is too high for him considering who you would be leaving behind. Assists do dry up quickly so depending on your build you may need to overpay for Giddey.
The frontcourt is a mish mash of players that are decent to below average. Lu Dort will get most of the minutes between him, Darius Bazley, Kenrich Williams, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Aleksej Pokusevski. However, none of these players are particularly exciting for fantasy and I do not envision a leap for any of them with the exception of Poku, who has the highest upside out of the group. Last season, as the Thunder starters were “out” down the stretch, he flashed his ability to score in double figures while racking up steal, boards and blocks. The shooting was nothing to write home about but the upside reared its head. He is a guy worthy of a last round pick in fantasy.
Tre Mann, Ty Jerome, and Theo Maledon will not be worth drafting in any standard leagues, however, keep an eye in the second half of the season if the Thunder prioritize lottery balls over winning in hopes of landing Victor Wembanyama. Such a feat would certainly place the final infinity stone in place for Sam Presti as he snaps his fingers and begins total domination. Maybe not so much end of humankind type scenario but you get the picture.
I do not envision this team winning many more games than last season. In fact, I could see them losing quite a bit more, depending on how they embrace a tank movement.
Draft Shai and Giddey with confidence. Look towards Dort and Bazley for fantasy production from this frontcourt and take that flier on Poku. Just be ready to jump ship when the waters get choppy second half of the season.