The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the world last season by making the playoffs when everybody thought they would be a lottery team. Now, they've finally embraced the rebuild and parted ways with most of their best players in return for draft capital.
Sam Presti is clearly trying to find a new superstar in the Draft and the Oklahoma City Thunder aren't likely to compete at a high-level next season. They'll try to showcase their veterans to get a couple of picks in return and that's it.
Then again, Thunder fans still have plenty of reasons to look forward to next season, as they have some promising prospects bound to take a step forward. Today, we're going to talk to you about their projected starting lineup for the 2020-21 season.
Bench: George Hill, Frank Jackson, Ty Jerome, Josh Gray, Theo Maledon, Chasson Randle, Hamidou Diallo, Andre Roberson, Vit Krejci, Kenrich Williams, Darius Miller, Admiral Schofield, Justin Jackson, Kevin Hervey, Zylan Cheatham, Josh Hall, Mike Muscala, T.J. Leaf, Deonte Burton, Isaiah Roby, Aleksej Pokusevski, Vincent Poirier, Omer Yurtseven
Point Guard: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
A lot of analysts claimed that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was going to be the biggest steal of his class and so far, he hasn't disappointed the slightest. And now that he's learned a thing or two from Chris Paul, he's only going to get better.
Shai has significantly improved as a scorer and playmaker and the Oklahoma City Thunder are his team right now. He's the star of the team and will only continue to blossom offensively, and we already know that he can play lockout defense as well.
Shooting Guard: Luguentz Dort
Luguentz Dort is the ultimate grinder. He's the true definition of a hard-working guy who won't take no for an answer and will do whatever it takes to make an NBA roster. Needless to say, his effort has paid off as he's now the team's starting shooting guard.
Dort shocked the world with his ability to guard James Harden in the playoffs. He also proved that the coach can draw plays for him as a scorer and that's he's not just a 3-and-D specialist. Then again, his upside seems kind of limited.
Small Forward: Trevor Ariza
I will go out on a limb and say that Trevor Ariza isn't going to finish the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. I mean, they just don't have use for a veteran given how many young players they have and the fact that they're not looking to compete.
Even though Trevor Ariza is no longer the top-notch 3-and-D player he was in his prime, his skills could really suit a contender looking to add depth in the wings. That's why he's a lock to be traded even if it is for just a couple of second-round picks.
Power Forward: Darius Bazley
Darius Bazley is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Oklahoma City Thunder's roster right now. People sleep on him due to his low profile and limited minutes but he already proved last season that he can contribute to multiple areas of the game.
The Thunder are reportedly pretty high on Bazley's versatile skill set. He can stretch the floor thanks to his ability to knock down shots from deep, and he knows how to make the most of his length in the defensive end. Al Horford's mentorship will do wonders for him.
Center: Al Horford
Sam Presti was craving first-round picks so he didn't mind absorbing Al Horford's massive contract if that meant getting some of them in return as well. Now, the Dominican is likely to finish his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Moving Horford's contract again is going to be a nearly impossible task and you know he's not going to just give up that much money. Then again, whether they continue to use him as a starter going forward is yet to be seen, as they'd be better off developing young players.