OKC Thunder starters might “ramp up” against Bucks

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder are back in action on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks for their second home preseason game and fourth exhibition tilt overall. On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Charlotte Hornets. However, Mark Daigneault elected to rest Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and Isaiah Joe. Kenrich Williams and Aleksej Pokusevski were already out with injuries.

OKC Thunder bench boss Mark Daigneault explained that decision on Monday following practice, saying the team wanted to “commit” a game to the end of rotation players. That was a multi-fold decision. Not only do the Thunder still need to waive a standard contract player, but they have a lot of guys vying for minutes early in the season.

Daigneault mentioned how the team used Sunday to assess a multitude of things, such as who is in or out of the mix to start the season in the rotation. Tonight against the Bucks, all six resting players are back in the lineup.

What to watch for as the OKC Thunder host the Bucks in preseason clash.

The Oklahoma City Thunder only have two preseason games left: tonight in the Paycom Center against the new-look Bucks and Thursday in Tulsa against the Detroit Pistons, with the regulars projecting to be in the lineup for each game.

What to watch for: 

The “Ramp up”: 

Mark Daigneault mentioned that in either today’s game or Thursday’s contest, the OKC Thunder will “ramp up” their regular rotational players, specifically the starters. Playing that main five minutes that closely resemble how things will look next week in the regular season.

The OKC Thunder bench boss said they would let the “Game flow” dictate which tilt would see the regulars playing extended minutes. That leaves tonight against a high-end Bucks team a likely candidate.

Vasilije Micic adjusting: 

After practice on Monday, Vasilije Micic explained the adjustment to the NBA’s pace and space, including the difference in defenses compared to the EuroLeague. Micic expanded on that saying in the EuroLeague: since they do not call 3-second violations, players can camp in the paint, leaving you protected as a defender in case you get beat.

Vasilije Micic stressed the need for him to adjust to the pace and defending in space on an island, detailing how the NBA is much more one-on-one style of basketball than the EuroLeague.

Chet Holmgren vs a bigger team: 

Lastly, watch for Chet Holmgren. I admit, this is a cheating answer since every game Holmgren plays, all eyes will be glued to him, but after playing the Spurs and Pistons, this will be the most physical test to date for the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Stay tuned to Thunderous Intentions for all of the coverage of tonight’s exhibition matchup and the latest OKC Thunder news.

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