Oklahoma City Thunder 2019-2020 Season OutlookOctober 3, 2019
By: Dave Furtado, Head Basketball Analyst
We head to the midwest for our next offseason breakdown. This time around we’ll be diving into the offseason that was for the Western Conference’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
Key Additions: Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mike Muscala
Key Subtractions: Russell Westbrook, Paul George
Draft: Darius Bazley
The Thunder have been one of the more interesting teams to follow over the last several years. Since making the move from Seattle to Oklahoma City they have been a fixture in the Western Conference Playoffs. This didn’t seem like it was going to change anytime soon until the trade of the summer went down. Paul George, just one year after singing a max contract with the Thunder was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and every Clippers draft pick from now until the end of time. It wasn’t long after this that the Thunder pulled off another trade. This time around they swapped point guards with the Houston Rockets, sending Russell Westbrook to Houston for Chris Paul. These two moves drastically changed the landscape of the Thunder as a franchise. They now have a somewhat weakened roster, but have more draft capital than they know what to do with, so all in all the team is in a solid spot moving forward.
Despite this there is still the 2019-20 season to worry about. Although they suffered some major losses, the returns in both the George and Westbrook trades were good. Gallinari is a solid rotational player and Gilgeous-Alexander proved last season he has an incredibly bright future in this league. As for Chris Paul, the initial belief was the Thunder would trade him to move his massive contract. However this hasn’t been the case to this point, so instead the Thunder go into the season with a veteran point guard, who in my opinion, still has plenty left in the tank. Oklahoma City also was able to add forward Mike Muscala who should serve as a serviceable depth option in the front court.
The draft was rather uneventful with Oklahoma City only having one pick. They drafted forward Darius Bazley with the 23rd pick in the first round. Bazley took an interesting route to the NBA. After initially committing to play at Syracuse he then decommitted with the plan of playing in the NBA G-League. However he ended up taking a year off from competitive action and instead focusing his attention on preparing for the draft. Bazley will bring a unique skillset to the Thunder. He is 6’9” and possesses great athleticism for a player of his size. In addition to this he has the ability to guard multiple positions due to his quick footwork, and his 7’ wingspan will allow him to clog up the passing lanes.
Final Outlook on the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are a tough team to analyze right now. They clearly have an eye toward the future, but still have a solid team for this season. The fact that Thunder fans need to keep in mind is that this current team likely won’t be the same team they finish the season with. Players such as Paul, Steven Adams, and Gallinari could be dealt during the season. With all of that being said, looking at the way the team is currently set up they should hover around the 41-41 mark for the year, and just narrowly miss the playoffs.