Preview 2022/23 | Towards a new season in the darkness of thunder

EuroBasket just ended, american basketball The traditional show, franchise by franchise, kicks off for the upcoming NBA season. Like every year, this takes the form of a countdown, from the worst record in the league to our favorite for the Champion title.

To open the ball for this month long is placed under the sign previewslet us state without further ado thunder. Without injuring his rising star Chet Holmgrenundeniably takes a better place in our provisional ranking…

Indeed, during a summer league game in Seattle, the second-choice of the last draft seriously injured his ankle, defending LeBron James. Racing Result: He suffered a torn ligament in the middle of his right foot, and like Joel Embiid, Blake Griffin, Greg Odin or Ben Simmons before him, he will face a white season once he makes it to the NBA…

A real hit for the Oklahoma chain, who dreamed of connecting Chet Holmgren with two more pieces, gilgus alexander tea And the Josh GediIn order to launch definitively a new phase of the reconstruction project. Especially since the Giddey-Holmgren duo won especially summer league

Instead, the Thunder will be content to attack this new fiscal year with a workforce roughly identical to 2022/23, which ranked 14th in the Western Conference, with the fourth-worst record in the league. “Almost,” because three other rookies joined Oklahoma City last June: Frenchman Ousmane Deng (11th pick), Galen Williams (12th pick) and Jalen Williams (34th pick).

Suffice it to say that Marc Deniault’s squad will have to rely primarily on internal gradients, particularly those of Shay Gilgus Alexander, Josh Gedi, Lugantes Dort (or even Darius Bazley), to even consider competing for play. season. Otherwise, and this carries risks, it’s a new campaign in the western slums waiting for OKC…

summer moves

Access : Chet Holmgren (draft), Usman Deng (draft), Galen Williams (draft), Jaylene Williams (draft), Eugene Omoroi
departing : Isaiah Robbie (Tottenham Hotspur), Olivier Sarr (Blazers), Jaylene Hurd (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Georgios Kalitzakis (Panathinaikos), Xavier Simpson (Magic), Melvin Frazier

Player to watch: Shi Gilgus Alexander

Now 24, for what will (already) be his fifth season in the NBA, Shay Gilgus Alexander has been called upon to take a new step individually, thus incorporating a new category: the All-Star class. Statistically, however, he has the stuff for two years: 24.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 interceptions on average, 47% in shots, 34% in 3-points and 81% in throws-outs.

So it just remains for him to shine collectively, or at least do better than he has in the last two campaigns (31% then 29% wins, in 2020/21 then 2021/22). The problem is that the file support body The talented Canadian – again – not the most quality. Under the circumstances, “SGA” would have no other choice but to take on its place as a star in the making, in order to pull their entire group upward, without upsetting Josh Giddey’s evolution.

Hopefully, above all else, physical errors and/or the intentions of the Thunder captains won’t come into the equation, because Shay Gilgus Alexander has been able to play only 35 games (of 72) and then 56 games (out of 82) over the past two years. Too little for a player who is supposed to be among the best in the league in his position…

Average age: 23 years

Salaries: $156.9 million (17)

The perfect scenario

Although unfortunate, Chet Holmgren’s absence does not ultimately lead to a disability. In fact, to make up for this deficiency on the inside, Darius Bazley shows a surprising and welcome progression alongside the trio of Gilgus Tea – Alexander – Josh Gedi – Luggins Duart, a complementing and wonderful on the outside.

Furthermore, if the versatile Giddey remains too short to appear this year in the All-Star Game, coach Gilgeous-Alexander is carving out a niche for himself as an All-Star game alternative. As for the stifling Dort, still making offensive progress, he finally joined the All-Defensive squad he longed for so much…

In terms of newbies, everything is clearly not perfect, but the desire, fighting spirit and freshness of promising Osman Deng, Galen Williams and Jaylene Williams does a lot of good in the 3/4/5 positions. Especially as trio of veterans Derek Vivers-Mike Moskala-Kenrich Williams is working to stabilize excess energy for their teammates.

In a sequence, Theo Maledon, Witt Krijsey and the erratic but talented Alexig Bokosevsky manage to make a real addition to Mark Denault’s spin, when Tri-Man, Aaron Wiggins or Jeremiah Robinson-Earl face a slight slack. Thus, these various elements put an end to it, and the Thunder is clearly improving its balance sheet, flirting with a bar of 35 wins.

Best: Oklahoma City was surprisingly able to fight for the playoffs for a while, before eventually leaving it after the All-Star break, due to her inexperience. However, a good start for the Oklahoma players gives them the possibility to participate in the “play” at the end of the season and this participation is clearly beneficial to this young group, which Chet Holmgren will soon reinforce. .

worst case scenario

Without Chet Holmgren, the race for Victor Wembanyama wouldn’t take long to launch in Oklahoma City. Despite Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort and Josh Giddey, who activated the backlines and played the team as best they could, Thunder didn’t really take off, accumulating setbacks quickly.

At the heart of this ship sailing with no goal other than a losing target, youngsters Osman Deng, Darius Bazley, Treeman, Galen Williams, Jeremiah Robinson Earl and Jaylene Williams struggle to find confidence and consistency. For their part, who have been regularly left out of the rotation, Theo Malidon, Alexei Bokosevsky, Aaron Wiggins and Fett Critchie really don’t do a better job when given the chance and we especially wonder if their future will be in the NBA…

And so, as in the past two seasons, the Oklahoma franchise is well positioned tanks From break all-stars and the Gilgeous-Alexander-Giddey-Dort trio are taking an early leave in March. The only veterans initially in the workforce, Derek Vivers, Mike Moskala and Kenrich Williams, were heavyweights at the time. Trade deadline. A year to forget, but it will at least allow Sam Prieste to recover a file highest probability additional…

Western Conference
15th – thunder 14 – … 13 – … 12 – … 11 – …
10 – … 9 – … 8 – … 7 – … 6 – …
5 – … 4 – … 3 – … 2 – … 1 – …
Eastern Conference
15th – … 14 – … 13 – … 12 – … 11 – …
10 – … 9 – … 8 – … 7 – … 6 – …
5 – … 4 – … 3 – … 2 – … 1 – …

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