Building a quality, championship-contending team requires the arduous task of determining who deserves a roster spot. In the case of the OKC Thunder, a player’s roster spot is a valuable commodity in the organization, especially when the goal of their rebuild is to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Currently, the OKC Thunder will have to crunch the roster from 16 standard contract players to 15 — a dilemma the team’s player evaluators have on their table, worse now that the team saw multiple players step up and several players come in to fill roles.
One could also see this on a positive note. With the high-level influx of talents in the roster, the quality of basketball within the team shall rise to a level that most organizations can only dream of. Plus, a higher level of play can only bring forth the best for the OKC Thunder.
However, at the end of the day, the NBA is a revolving door, and difficult decisions will have to be made no matter how potentially good a player could turn out to be.
From what it looks, the roster is packed with promising players who have paid their dues and shown their potential with the minutes they have earned before. For some, the value built off the minutes they saw action on the floor holds extreme value. For others, the value has either shrunk or turned sour.
What three players are on the hot seat for the OKC Thunder following the 2023 NBA Draft?
Filling in as the backup point guard on a loaded guard rotation, Tre Mann has been in and out of the rotation in the past 2022-23 season. He played 67 games during the regular season and started on five while playing about 17 minutes per game. The promise of his offensive game lies heavily on what he showcased in his rookie season, but his second year proved to be a whole lot of whimpers than bangs, contrary to two years ago.
His shooting fell off, only drilling about 31 percent of his three-point shots on lower volume than his rookie year. He also did not get in the line as often as he did in his first year and was an obvious negative on defense.
Mann’s game, which relies heavily on the offensive side, required him to have the ball in his hands. However, with the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s All-NBA rise, Josh Giddey’s ever-improving scoring repertoire, and Isaiah Joe’s marksmanship, the need for a spitfire guard off the bench becomes much dimmer.
It also doesn’t help that the Thunder drafted guard Cason Wallace, a defensive ace with great offensive upside projected to fill the backup role. Vasilje Micic, whose rights belong to the OKC Thunder, could also be an addition, as his tremendous international success and floor generalship may raise the team’s short-term ceiling.
That left Mann the odd man out of all the roster shake-ups looming. Entering his third year in the league, the rookie deal is still in effect until the end of this coming season. Time can only tell his future with the team.