OKC Thunder: Evaluating Potential Reclamation Tasks

OKC Thunder: Evaluating Potential Reclamation Projects

In the case of the NBA, match and system are extremely necessary for any participant to succeed in their ceiling. Typically instances, there’s gamers that additionally want a change of surroundings to get their careers again on monitor.

In both case, it’s not unusual for gamers to see an uptick in manufacturing and influence when becoming a member of a brand new crew.

For the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, reclamation tasks have been a specialty over the previous few years. Given the crew was open to taking over undesirable contracts to make trades occur, with the ability to extract worth out of every participant has been necessary.

Whereas there’s quite a few examples of reclamation tasks over the course of the franchise’s time in Oklahoma Metropolis, there’s just a few that instantly come to thoughts.

For starters, Kenrich Williams was a throw-in as wage filler within the commerce of Steven Adams to the New Orleans Pelicans. Earlier than becoming a member of the Thunder he was extremely inefficient and didn’t have the trajectory of being a key piece of a contending crew. Now, he’s one of the crucial fascinating 3-and-D veterans within the league and could be within the playoff rotation if the Thunder was to make it this season. This isn’t too far off from what occurred with Isaiah Joe, who was by no means capable of finding a constant position with the Philadelphia 76ers early in his profession however immediately turned one of many league’s greatest 3-point shooters when becoming a member of the Thunder as a free agent final season.

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Take Al Horford as one other current instance. Oklahoma Metropolis was compensated for taking over his wage following a very down 12 months with the Philadelphia 76ers, then flipped a 12 months later for extra property after placing him able to thrive with the Thunder. Equally, OKC traded Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and important draft capital in 2019. On the time, Paul seemed to be trending downwards in his profession and Westbrook was considered as an improve for the Houston Rockets. Nevertheless, Paul was in a position to revitalize his profession with the Thunder with an All-NBA season earlier than being traded to the Phoenix Suns and taking them to the NBA Finals.

Whereas every of those conditions had been all fairly totally different, what’s clear is that the Thunder is nice at getting probably the most out of its gamers. Oklahoma Metropolis at all times finds methods to place its athletes in positions to succeed and has a versatile system that enables gamers to leverage their respective strengths.

Coming into the 2023-24 season, there’s a number of gamers that may very well be subsequent in line as a profitable reclamation mission. It’s troublesome to even predict who will in the end make the 15-man roster this season given how a lot expertise will probably be preventing for spots in coaching camp, however these three gamers have an actual shot at having a constructive season.

Getting Again on Monitor: Davis Bertans

Following a breakout 2019-20 marketing campaign during which Davis Bertans averaged 15.4 factors per sport whereas capturing 42.4% from deep on 8.7 makes an attempt, he signed a five-year, $80 million deal to stay with the Washington Wizards. Since then, he hasn’t lived as much as expectations.

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Within the 158 common season video games since signing that deal, he’s averaged 7.4 factors per contest whereas capturing 37.7% from past the arc. Moreover, the Latvian ahead was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in the course of the 2021-22 season and basically by no means cracked the rotation frequently.

Coming into the upcoming season, Bertans will probably be 30 years outdated and on a roster loaded with younger expertise that may want developmental minutes. Nevertheless, given he stands at 6-foot-10 and may present spacing, there’s a actual probability he carves out a task. Oklahoma Metropolis lacks frontcourt depth and can want spacing for guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey who’re greatest driving to the rim.

New System for Younger Prospect: Usman Garuba

Though he has solely spent two seasons within the NBA, Usman Garuba nonetheless has considerably of an unknown outlook on his profession. The previous first-round decide has performed 99 video games for the Houston Rockets so far, however has solely notched three begins.

The Spanish ahead is 6-foot-8 and primarily performs energy ahead and middle. Whereas considerably undersized for these positions, he’s extraordinarily sturdy and is a confirmed influence participant on protection. If he finally ends up making the roster in Oklahoma Metropolis, he might actually acquire momentum enjoying small ball middle, which is a task the Thunder has confirmed profitable at rolling out.

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The swing talent for Garuba would be the 3-point shot and his offense holistically. Nearly as good as he’s on the defensive finish of the ground, he might want to make some influence as a scorer. Whereas it was on low quantity, he knocked down 24 of his 59 makes an attempt (40.7%) from past the arc final season which is promising.

Harm Restoration Challenge: Victor Oladipo

After a profitable first stint with the Thunder again within the 2016-17 season, Victor Oladipo is formally again on the roster. Whereas he could be a straightforward lower candidate to trim the roster down to fifteen in October, there may be worth in protecting him round.

Oladipo has suffered a number of important accidents over the previous few years, most not too long ago a torn left patellar tendon. The process on that knee was his third main surgical procedure in simply over 4 years. He’s set to have an opportunity at returning to the ground early within the 2023-24 marketing campaign, however doubtless received’t be prepared by opening night time.

Not solely is his expiring $9.45 million wage a top quality asset to carry onto for a possible commerce deadline deal, however Oladipo can also be a stable participant. He simply turned 31 years outdated and averaged roughly 20 factors per sport simply two seasons in the past. It can actually be troublesome, if not unimaginable, to beat all of those accidents and get again to enjoying at that stage, however Oklahoma Metropolis would have the luxurious of staying affected person and bringing him again slowly.

Once more, all three of those gamers may very well be lower forward of the 2023-24 season. Nevertheless, they every have worth for varied causes and may very well be potential reclamation tasks to assist push the crew ahead or emerge as a constructive commerce asset.

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