Thunder drill options, set list, extension time
There’s a fresh chill in the air today, the coffee tastes better and everyone is thrilled the NBA is back with the Oklahoma City Thunder announcing their 2022-23 regular season against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. of Minnesota. It’s that time of the week again for the Thunderous Intentions notebook for any news or treats you might have missed throughout the week!
Last week, the Thunder wrapped up a 5-1 preseason slate, exercised a trio of contract options, saw the extension deadline come and go with no deal for their 2019 first-round pick and clawed back its star leader.
Oklahoma City Thunder ends preseason 5-1, builds roster, makes contract moves and regains health ahead of regular season
The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up their preseason roster with a 5-1 record with a ton of standout performances along the way. Now OKC has drawn up its 17-man roster for the start of the season by renouncing David Nwaba, Marquese Chriss and Trey Burke after signing Isaiah Joe to a multi-year deal over the weekend.
Isaiah Joe showed some real NBA-level tools, all tuned on extremely small samples, but Joe credited Vince Rozman for why he landed OKC. Rozman was part of the 76ers front office that drafted Joe in 2020, and OKC lured him away from Philadelphia this summer to join Sam Presti’s staff.
Isaiah Joe was also a high school teammate with rookie big man and 34th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Jaylin Williams. They both attended the University of Arkansas at different times.
Joe is 6’4 at 23, but he scores at the rim at a 64% clip, which ranks him in the 75th percentile for his position. Granted, that’s on just 11 attempts because it’s tough to get on the floor as a young second-round player for the contending 76ers.
In the mid-range court, Joe shot 57%, which ranks in the 95th percentile at his position. Perhaps his biggest strength is his perimeter shot nailing 39% of his corner triples and 36% of his threes overall last season.
Oklahoma City also exercised their team options on Aleksej Pokusevski, Josh Giddey and Tre Mann keeping them all under contract to the Thunder for the 2023-24 NBA season. This is standard practice, just something the OKC needed to trigger in their rookie deals at the time.
Another deadline that passed was the rookie extension deadline for 2019 first-round picks, and Darius Bazley watched 5 p.m. Monday go by without a shiny new contract in hand. Bazley, Cameron Johnson, PJ Washington, Grant Williams and Rui Hachimura all fell into the same boat of not getting this contract extension.
Darius Bazley will now play the 2022-23 NBA season as a member of the OKC Thunder and hit restricted free agency during the summer. Sam Presti doesn’t usually let restricted free agency play, we recently saw Hamidou Diallo having the best part of his career leading up to his RFA summer, and was dealt to the Pistons midway through the year for Svi Mykhailiuk.
Who knows how it will turn out, but for my part, I will not give up on Darius Bazley just yet. His role seems more defined than ever before as a big flyer who can smash shots and play elite all-around defense.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will officially be set to play in the OKC Thunder season opener on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Gilgeous-Alexander suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain that kept him out of all of training camp and the preseason portion.
That means Oklahoma City will be full, plus Chet Holmgren, who is out for the year with a right foot injury, according to coach Mark Daigneault. With 16 healthy players, Daigneault will have to make a ton of interesting calls on this roster’s rotation.
This week: The Thunder play the Timberwolves Wednesday in Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Bally Sports Oklahoma, the Denver Nuggets in Denver Saturday at 8 p.m. on Bally Sports Oklahoma, and hold their home opener Sunday at 7 p.m. also against the Wolves. The NBA G-League Draft also takes place on Saturday.
Song of the week: Tennessee Jed, Grateful Dead.