Grade the Trade: Thunder send Giddey to East contender in polarizing four-team mock deal

Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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The Oklahoma City Thunder sit at the top of the Western Conference standings as the NBA Trade Deadline sits a day away. That's quite the climb for a team that finished 24-58 just two seasons ago, and didn't even make the playoffs last year. Given that they didn't add an All-Star this offseason the leap is shockingly bold and extremely exciting for the Thunder and their fans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a Top-10 player at the least and clear MVP candidate, an on-ball superstar who doesn't give anything up on either end of the court. Chet Holmgren is the epitome of a modern big man, if not shattering the mold for one, spacing the court on offense and sealing off the rim defensively. Jalen Williams is the thunder to SGA's lightning (forgive the pun) and a future All-Star. Cason Wallace and Isaiah Joe are two of the best role players in the league.

The one player on the Thunder who doesn't quite fit is Josh Giddey. He's an on-ball player on a team with a lot of other on-ball talent, and his lack of a jumper makes him an awkward fit off the ball. The Minnesota Timberwolves were bold in leaving Giddey wide open to strangle the rest of the offense and he hasn't been able to consistently make defenses play. There are shades of Draymond Green in the way Giddey fits on a contender, except Giddey is a below-average defender rather than one of the greatest of all time.

Josh Giddey is a difficult fit on the Thunder

The Thunder certainly aren't going to simply dump Josh Giddey to clear space in the rotation; the former No. 6 overall pick is too talented and too productive for that. To reach their ceiling as a team, however, they may have to one day move on from him to bring back pieces that fit a bit more snugly.

That was the thought process for the team of NBA analysts who recently conducted a "Mock NBA Trade Deadline" for the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast, an annual tradition that gives invaluable insight into the trade landscape heading into the deadline. What was the proposed trade that saw Josh Giddey head to an Eastern Conference contender?

Let's take a closer look.

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