The OKC Thunder will play basketball this afternoon!…. Kind of. Sure, it is the preseason, and sure, the regulars will not be playing, but it is still basketball! Today marks game three of the five-game preseason run for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They march into Charolette to take on the Hornets before heading back to Oklahoma City.
In a road matinee getaway day game, the OKC Thunder are resting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and Isaiah Joe. Kenrich Williams (back) and Aleksej Pokusevski (ankle) are out with legitimate injuries.
The OKC Thunder have to see their bench flex their muscles against the Hornets in the third preseason game.
Throughout this offseason, a lot has been made about the young core the OKC Thunder have built, and rightfully so. Many crown it as the best young core in the NBA, and with sky-high potential, the excitement around Oklahoma City for this team is palpable.
However, it is not just the young core stealing headlines in OKC, but the amount of depth Sam Presti and this organization have built up for the OKC Thunder. Now, with the regulars resting, it is time for that depth to flex their muscles in the Queen City.
What to watch for:
Vasilije Micic getting extended run:
On Thursday, the two-time EuroLeague MVP made his NBA debut for the OKC Thunder. After a few flirty summers, Vasilije Micic has finally landed in Bricktown. Micic showed many flashes against the Pistons, particularly on the offensive end.
On Sunday, he should see an extended run, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for the 29-year-old rookie who has to play catch up in getting adjusted to the speed of the NBA game.
The Roster Bubble:
For the first time this preseason, Jack White, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Tre Mann should see a lot of burn. With a 21-player roster and a decision already made to move on from Victor Oladipo, the Thunder still have to move on from two more standard contracts in addition to Oladipo. Jack White, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Tre Mann are firmly on the roster bubble.
White and Robinson-Earl have only seen limited runs toward the end of preseason contests. Tre Mann was able to stretch out a tad on Monday but missed Thursday’s tilt with an injury.
The Rookie guard from Kentucky has been impressive throughout training camp and the preseason. His defensive chops are to be expected, but Wallace has also found ways to be impressive on offense as well.
Wallace even earned a start on Monday against the Spurs with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out of the lineup. He is in line to start again for the Thunder with the regulars on the pine.
The tenth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft is in for an interesting rookie season as a threat to play right away for Mark Daigneault or spend time in the NBA G League with defensive guru Kameron Woods. How he plays in these games will go a long way in deciding his fate.