Previewing OKC Thunder’s Vegas opener (How, What, When to watch)

Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have wrapped up their 2023 Salt Lake City Summer League stretch and now head to Vegas to join the rest of the NBA at the mecca of meaningless basketball. The NBA world has decent upon Vegas to watch the future stars of tomorrow today. It tipped off on Friday with Amen Thompson, Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller, and of course, Victor Wembanyama all in action. Today, another crop of young stars, including OKC Thunder rookie Cason Wallace, will showcase their talents.

The Kentucky guard was ineligible to play in Salt Lake City because the trade with the Mavericks was not finalized until the 6th of July; without the ability for OKC to finalize his rookie scale deal and update their Summer League roster, it delayed Wallace’s debut. That awkward transactional period has been rectified, and Wallace will make his long awaited debut this afternoon.

Previewing Today’s OKC Thunder Vegas Summer League opener against the Dallas Mavericks.

Game Details: 

  • Matchup: OKC Thunder (2-1) vs Dallas Mavericks (0-0)
  • Date and Time: July 8th, 2 p..m. CT
  • How to watch: ESPN2

What to watch for: 

Cason Wallace is set to make his NBA Summer League debut

The 10th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Cason Wallace, is set to make his NBA debut at Vegas Summer League this afternoon. This matchup has no shortage of storylines for the rookie, who is playing not only his hometown team but also the franchise that traded him on Draft Night. The Dallas Mavericks used this slot to salary dump Davis Bertans’ contract.

Cason Wallace provides excellent defense, and pairing him with Chet Holmgren should make life tough on the Dallas Mavericks in their first Summer League action. On the offensive side of the floor, Wallace has admitted he is willing to play on and off the ball. Watching him co-exist with a red-hot Tre Mann would be interesting for the Thunder.

A possible Dereck Lively II and Chet Holmgren matchup:

Chet Holmgren played two of three games at the Salt Lake City Summer League classic. He only missed the second night of a back-to-back before the team traveled to Vegas. It seems likely that Holmgren will play in this matchup, though it might be his last of the Summer. In this game, Holmgren will again be challenged with Dereck Lively II, who had a pocket of fans in the OKC Thunder fanbase during the pre-draft process.

Can Ousmane Dieng build on his strong finish in Salt Lake City?

The Oklahoma City Thunder played Ousmane Dieng in all three games of the Salt Lake City Summer League, where Dieng turned in one of his best games as an NBA professional against the 76ers. As someone who has covered Dieng in the NBA and G-League, that was the most aggressive and comfortable he has looked on the attack at this level.

The OKC Thunder have seen Ousmane Dieng show flashes throughout his first year in the league. This afternoon, he has the chance to show consistency and growth. To build on his best game. The most interesting aspect to watch is whether Dieng can succeed with more parts around him. Some of Dieng’s best games have been when you subtract talent around him. In that 76ers contest on Thursday, Jalen Williams, Jaylin Williams, Chet Holmgren, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Keyontae Johnson were all out. As you add some, or maybe all, of those parts back, plus Cason Wallace, can Dieng still find a way to be assertive?

Pre-Game reads: 

Check back postgame for Game Grades and a recap of this contest between the OKC Thunder and Dallas Mavericks!

Next. 3 things to watch for the OKC Thunder in Vegas. dark