Preview: OKC Thunder vs Houston Rockets (What, When, How to watch)

Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder continue their NBA Summer League journey. After a 3-1 Salt Lake City stretch, the OKC Thunder began Vegas play 1-0 after downing the Dallas Mavericks. This evening, they look to stay hot against the Houston Rockets.

The OKC Thunder have a loaded Summer League roster; it features 11 players with NBA experience (Note: This includes rookies Cason Wallace, Keyontae Johnson, and Chet Holmgren, who have already made the roster). Though a contest that was once a highlighted event by each fanbase has taken a hit hours before tip-off. The Rockets will sideline the number three pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Jabari Smith Jr, and Tari Eason in this one.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will see Tre Mann sidelined for the rest of the Summer League session with a Small Avulsion fracture in the right middle finger. Mann will return to on-court activities in two weeks. The OKC Thunder will also sit out Jared Butler, Ousmane Dieng, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Tre Mann, Jaylin Williams, and Chet Holmgren in this contest.

OKC Thunder looks to stay hot in Vegas Summer League despite being short-handed vs the Rockets.

Game Details

  • When: July 11th, 5:30 P.M. C.T.
  • Where: Vegas
  • Watch: NBA TV

What to watch for: 

Cason Wallace looks to build on his debut: 

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw their tenth overall pick steal the hearts of the heartland in just one (1) half of Summer League basketball. Wallace aced his debut and looks to build on that success in his second Summer League game. The biggest highlight of Cason Wallace’s success in his Summer League debut is that it all came within the flow of the game, and in spots, he will genuinely be used once October rolls around.

Now, Cason Wallace will be the lone star on the floor. How will he react?

A prime candidate for a two-way slot: 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a knack for inking undrafted free agents and finding hidden gems, and Caleb McConnell might be their next find. Given the lengthy inactive sheet, McConnell should see plenty of opportunity for Kam Woods’ squad. The all-time steals leader at Rutgers is a defense ace, who impressed Oklahoma City in the pre-draft process just a few weeks ago, and with a strong summer league, could be in line to grab one of the two-way slots in Bricktown.

Former NBAers looking for a bounce back: 

The OKC Thunder will give plenty of playing time to Zhaire Smith and Jahmi’us Ramsey tonight. Smith is a former first-round pick out of Texas Tech, while Ramsey, a fellow Red Raider, was picked in the second round. Each flamed out in their first NBA spots and are looking for a bounce back.

For Jahmi’us Ramsey, he has lit it up in the NBA G-League and played for OKC Thunder Summer League head coach Kameron Woods a year ago. While Ramsey can fill the stat sheet in the G-League, scouts tell me the worry is that at his size, the rim pressure and scoring will not translate to the NBA. While this Summer League environment will not prove he can score at the NBA level, at least he will put his skills on display in front of many NBA decision-makers hanging around Summer League.

Check back for tonight’s game recap and grades of this matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets.

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