2 Thunder players who could be cut from the playoff rotation

Which Oklahoma City Thunder players may see a reduced role during the postseason?
Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets
Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets / Al Bello/GettyImages
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Josh Giddey

Reason: Offensive limitations

The 2023-24 season has been a rollercoaster for Josh Giddey in every way possible, whether it’s his on-court production, off-court distractions, or, simply, fans and media pundits putting his play under a microscope. 

Giddey is definitively one of the better pure passers in the league and sees the entire court at all times. There are a few head-scratching turnovers here and there, but he generally executes precision passes that lead to excellent looks.

As evidence, Giddey ranks fourth across the NBA in Basketball Index’s metric passing creation quality, which effectively measures the quality of scoring opportunities created by the passer. 

Unfortunately, passing does not equal complete playmaking.

His slow first step and loose handle block him from creating advantages off the dribble. Essentially, Giddey can capitalize on an opening but cannot create the opening itself, which is a massive distinction.

Meanwhile, of the 110 players this season with at least 300 paint field goal attempts, he ranks 97th in paint field goal percentage (via NBA.com). Factor in his ugly pull-up shooting efficiency, and Giddey is simply not built to be an on-ball creator.  

To make matters worse, opponents are placing a center on him and having the defender sag into the paint. This strategy clogs the paint for Gilgeous-Alexander and nullifies Holmgren’s typical mobility advantage since a forward is marking him.

In other words, Giddey’s weak shot makes life difficult for the stars. 

It’s unlikely that the former seventh-overall pick is completely cut out of the rotation, but he definitely should not see close to 25 minutes per game, which has been his regular season average.

Look for Gordon Hayward and, hopefully, Aaron Wiggins to absorb a ton of his volume during the playoffs.