Community Shootaround: OKC Thunder

For the last few seasons, the Thunder have been a paper tiger.

Top executive Sam Presti built a head-spinning stash of future draft picks through his wheeling and dealing. Oklahoma City is still owed 10 future first-rounders and even more second-round picks – it could easily create two additional teams in the next couple of years with all those selections.

The on-court performance began to perk up last season, as the Thunder collected 40 regular-season victories and won a game in the play-in tournament before getting eliminated by Minnesota.

Oklahoma City appears poised to make an even bigger mark this season. The Thunder sit second in the Western Conference and have won eight of their last 10 games.

Even a 30-0 Dallas run on Saturday didn’t deter the Thunder, as they emerged with a 126-120 victory.

A stable lineup, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, has facilitated the hot start. Gilgeous-Alexander, a first time All-Star and All-NBA First Team selection last season, is once again filling up the stat sheet. He’s averaging 29.9 points, 6.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals while keeping his turnovers down (2.2).

After missing a full season due to foot issues, Chet Holmgren is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year. He’s posting quality numbers across the board – 17.6 points, a team-high 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Jalen Williams is also averaging 17.6 points and the lineup is filled out by Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort. Giddey gives the lineup another adept ball-handler – though he’s currently being investigated by law enforcement and the league for an alleged improper relationship.

Dort has had to sacrifice offensive opportunities after averaging 17.2 points per game two seasons ago but he’s still a key to their defense. Isaiah Joe is the team’s sixth man and rookie Cason Wallace has also made an impact.

That brings us to our topic of the day: What is the Thunder’s ceiling this season – can they make a deep playoff run? Should they trade some of the future draft picks from their stockpile for another impact player? If so, what do you think they need the most?

Please take to the comments section to weigh on this topic. We look forward to your input.

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