One trade to make OKC Thunder the best defense in the NBA

Dorian Finney-Smith #28 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Dorian Finney-Smith #28 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Dorian Finney-Smith #10 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder could be the best defense in the NBA.

A season ago, as the Oklahoma City soared to 40 wins, their defensive unit ranked 13th in NBA with a 113.2 defensive rating, fourth in the league in steals swiping eight per game, 22nd in blocks per game (4.2), dead last in opponent second chance points allowed (15.5) and they were second in the league at limiting fast break points, only allowing 11.9 points in transition.

The OKC Thunder have already addressed some of these areas in a big way (no pun intended) with the long-anticipated debut of Chet Holmgren. The fanbase is already salivating over the defensive potential for Mark Daigneault’s squad with the addition of Holmgren and Cason Wallace to an already top-half-of-the-league defense. Between Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and an ever-improving Jalen Williams on the defensive end of the floor, OKC will be cooking with peanut oil.

Then, hypothetically, insert Dorian Finney-Smith, who averages 1.2 stocks per game in his career, including 1.6 stocks per game back in 2021-22. Finney-Smith was a very good isolation defender limiting his matchup to 0.843 points per possession.

During the Dallas Mavericks run to the Western Conference Finals in 2021-22, Finney-Smith not only thrived as an iso-defender but fighting through screens and closing out to shots off the catch.

The defensive lineups of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Jalen Williams, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Chet Holmgren or swapping someone out for Case Wallace would be a tough unit to score on.

The 30-year-old spent time coming off the bench in four of the last seven seasons. It would not be unheard of the bring the wing off the pine for a young core with somewhat of a solidified starting five. The lineup shuffling from Mark Daigneault could be unmatched.

Adding Dorian Finney-Smith not only adds versatility to the hardwood but also impacts their roster construction.