3 Swing players for the OKC Thunder ahead of the 2023-24 season

Aleksej Pokusevski #17 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
Aleksej Pokusevski #17 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma State Thunder (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

If Cason Wallace can have a stellar rookie season, things can swing for the OKC Thunder.

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw Jalen Williams pop as a rookie after he was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Williams was tabbed as a rising star, finished as an All-rookie member, runner up for Rookie of the Year, and now many think he has All-Star potential. That, of course, is not standard for rookies. Jalen Williams’ impact on winning basketball games was unheard of for a rookie, especially at such an efficient clip.

Those should not be the expectations for Cason Wallace, or any rookie, to live up to. However, if the Kentucky product can come into the OKC Thunder organization and play meaningful minutes right away, the top-ten pick can be a swing player for Oklahoma City.

While many will point to Cason Wallace’s defensive ability, and for good reason, his production on offense is just as noteworthy. Despite battling a back injury and many moving pieces around him at Kentucky, Wallace still thrived in many roles with the Wildcats.

He can play on the ball and away from it on that end of the floor, as a catch-and-shoot severe threat, with an ability to navigate the pick-and-roll as a playmaker and facilitate things off the bench.

Oklahoma City has added Vasilije Micic and Cason Wallace this offseason, two guys who would be “pass the baton” players guys. Mark Daigneault can bring in and take some pressure off the OKC Thunder starters. A backcourt duo that you do not have fear will lose your lead and might even extend it while your starters get some rest.

From November through the end of January, Cason Wallace shot 40 percent from beyond the arc with the Wildcats, ultimately, he finished the year shooting 35 percent after having to adapt to a different role and the aforementioned back spasms.

If Cason Wallace can provide shooting, defense, and secondary playmaking, he certainly can find a big role for Mark Daigneault’s squad and help the Thunder survive this 82-game marathon.