Thunder Notes: Giddey, Offense, SGA, Williams, Holmgren

The Thunder‘s decision to move Josh Giddey to the bench came at an odd time, in the view of Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman, who notes that the guard’s fit in the starting lineup has been a concern for much of the season, and certainly for the entire series vs. Dallas. Head coach Mark Daigneault explained on Wednesday why he decided to wait until after Oklahoma City’s Game 4 win to make a change.

“Considering all the information before every single game and treating every game as its own life, I just wasn’t comfortable doing it up until now,” Daigneault said. “At the end of the day I’m making a lot of different decisions. They’re not all gonna be right or wrong.”

Benching Giddey didn’t do a whole lot for the Thunder’s offense, which was limited to 92 points in a Game 5 loss, Mussatto writes. Still, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays, Daigneault came away from Wednesday’s loss feeling good about the way the offense functioned, even if the results weren’t there. The NBA’s best three-point shooting team during the regular season (38.9%) made just 10-of-40 attempts from beyond the arc in Game 5.

“I’m careful to say I loved a 92-point night,” Daigneault said. “But I did feel like we were bumping up against some hurdles on the offensive end of the floor the (previous) three games. I did feel like (in Game 5) we were able to find some cracks. We made them a little bit more uncomfortable. We had them in rotation a little bit more.”

Here’s more on the Thunder ahead of a must-win Game 6 on Saturday:

  • Regardless of what happens in Game 6, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander passed an important test this spring, Mussatto writes for The Oklahoman. After having established himself as a No. 1 option, a multi-time All-Star, and a true MVP candidate, Gilgeous-Alexander has shown during this postseason that he’s capable of maintaining his level in the playoffs and being the best player on a legitimate contender. That bodes well going forward for a Thunder team still on the rise, Mussatto observes.
  • After scoring 19 or more points in each of the Thunder’s four games vs. New Orleans in round one, Jalen Williams has only topped 18 points once in five games vs. Dallas. The second-year forward, who is playing in the postseason for the first time, is still working out just how aggressive he should – or needs to – be on offense, tweets Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. “I think sometimes I should probably force a little more. But I’m big on playing within the team, like we’ve been doing all year,” Williams said. “I think (I’m) sometimes getting caught up in trying to create for others the whole game. It’s a balance that I’m still trying to figure out.”
  • In a series of feature stories, Slater of The Athletic takes a look at Gilgeous-Alexander’s evolution as a team leader in Oklahoma City, Marc J. Spears of Andscape examines how Williams’ self-confidence permeates through a young OKC roster, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN explores Chet Holmgren‘s perfect fit in the Thunder’s frontcourt.
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