The 2021-22 NBA season will attempt to be as close to a normal NBA season as possible after two years playing through a pandemic. The COVID situation in the United States has not improved as much as expected, but the league expects to get a full 82 games in while pushing for its players, coaches and staff to get vaccinated.
DKNation will be going through all 30 teams ahead of the season, looking at how the roster shapes up for the 2021-22 campaign. Here we take a look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who enter a deep rebuild armed with plenty of first-round picks and cap space.
Oklahoma City Thunder 2021-22 Outlook
Key additions: Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
Giddey, the NBL’s Rookie of the Year, was a surprisingly but logical pick for a team looking to become more versatile offensively. Mann will provide shooting from the jump and Robinson-Earl should be a decent rotation player for the time being. The Thunder are in no rush to compete and have a good rookie group to start off what looks to be a time-consuming rebuild.
Key departures: Al Horford, Kemba Walker
The veterans are out, paving the way for younger guys to get more minutes. The Thunder didn’t even have to attach first-round picks in either move, not that any draft price would’ve stopped them from moving on from both players. Horford returns to the Boston Celtics while Walker joins the New York Knicks after agreeing to a buyout.
There are no expectations in terms of wins for the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander received a big extension this offseason, so there’s a question of whether he’ll live up to that price point. Other than that, this season will be about establishing a new culture and developing young players together.
Fantasy basketball player to watch: Josh Giddey
The Australian youngster can do it all, but it’ll be interesting to see how much ball-handling duties he’ll take from Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder will want to push the ball more, something Giddey will be good at. His creativity will captivate fans and he should be a decent scorer. The Thunder are hoping he can develop on the same timeline as LaMelo Ball, who won last season’s Rookie of the Year award after spending time in the NBL.