3 OKC Thunder players who can step up in Aleksej Pokusevski’s absence

Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Davis Bertans #44 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder can get creative with Davis Bertans’ role to work around his contract restrictions.

There is no shortage of options for the Oklahoma City Thunder to fill in Aleksej Pokusevski’s spot. Kenrich Williams and Jaylin Williams led the way for secondary duty; remember, these names could step up, given the opportunity. When I say going old, Kenrich Williams is the most likely and will take on the Lion’s share of the minutes left behind.

Davis Bertans has an interesting cork in his contract that allows the OKC Thunder to wiggle out of his massive deal so long as he plays in less than 75 percent of the team’s games this season. At that point, the OKC Thunder are only on the hook for 5 million dollars. That is a massive saving from the potential 16 million dollars he is owed if he passes that mark.

Leave it to the OKC Thunder to get creative with their roster, and one way for Sam Presti and Mark Daigneault to do that is front load the playing time for Bertans to align with Pokusevski’s miss time and follow it up with a wild string of DNP-CD’s later on in the year.

This would give the OKC Thunder another shooting threat, an area that needs constant improving in Bricktown, and Bertans has been around the block a time or two for whatever veteran wisdom he has to share with this young Thunder squad.

Ultimately, I think the rotation breaks down as such: 

  • The Starting 5: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren
  • The Bench Unit: Vasilije Micic, Isaiah Joe, Aaron Wiggins, Kenrich Williams, Jaylin Williams
  •  Swing players: Cason Wallace, Ousmane Dieng, Keyontae Johnson, and Davis Bertans

If Mark Daigneault has taught OKC Thunder fans anything, it is to not expect a typical rotation. It is part of what makes the Thunder bench boss so great; he is not stubborn and willing to adjust or try new things. It often leads to unlocking surprisingly effective lineups.

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