The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season and as we wait for the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery to decide the fate of two out of the four top-34 selections the Thunder own, let’s take a look back and grade this past season for OKC.
We have already ripped through grading the head coach, the starting unit, and the bench squad for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In this edition, let’s look at the veterans on the roster, though they are few and far between before the next article details some of the “misfits” on the roster.
The OKC Thunder fielded a roster that was youngest than some college basketball teams, namely the Texas Longhorns last season. That leads to just three veterans on the squad, including one that is a bit of a stretch.
For this article, we will dive into grading Kenrich Williams, Derrick Favors, and Mike Muscala. While Williams is just 27 years old, it is clear he brings leadership to the locker room and mentors the young players still trying to find their footing in the NBA.
Grading Oklahoma City Thunder veterans, starting with Mike Muscala
Mike Muscala is a fan favorite around Bricktown, and for good reason. The 30-year-old big man has truly embraced the community and organization going as far as to cry at his end-of-season press conference a year ago over how much he loves everything about Oklahoma City.
During the offseason of change, as the organization shipped off the face of their franchise, traded Paul George, and brought in a contract many called the worst in the sport at the time, Sam Presti hopped on a bird and flew to Minnesota to meet with Mike Muscala. The Bucknell product averages six points per game for his career and has turned in his two best points per game seasons in OKC in two of his three years so far in Bricktown.
Muscala is a true sharpshooting big man, nailing 42-percent of his triples this past season while dealing with a lingering ankle injury that demanded season-ending surgery. The team re-signed Muscala to a two-year deal last offseason but it was mainly for his off-the-court impact.
Let’s be honest, the 30-year-old big man likely will not factor into the future of the team long term whenever it is that Sam Presti has this organization ready to compete again. What he can do is help the young players mature into professional basketball players by developing great habits for long-term success.
Muscala has a 3.5-million dollar club option for the 2022-23 season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder has four top-34 selections in the 2022 NBA Draft with a need to create roster spots. Turning down that option would be an easy out for Presti who has to decide exactly what that leadership is worth. If I had to guess, the team will pick up the option, but we will monitor that situation closely.
Grade: A, how can you not love Muscala on and off the court? From creating the breakfast club, his fun postgame pressers that feature incredible outfits, and being a great floor spacer and shooter on the floor.