3 Thunder players that need to improve ahead of postseason

Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets
Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
1 of 3

The OKC Thunder have cemented themselves as one of the Western Conference's top teams, which means a deep post-season run could be just around the corner. With the postseason being so close, coach Mark Daigneault's rotation will become more and more evident as time progresses.

Key players may have different roles as coaches and teams adjust to changes. Some members of the Thunder's squad will need to show improvement in time for a playoff series, or they risk seeing their role diminish as the team enters a phase of more competitive basketball and looks to advance.

In specific, there are three players who much look to improve ahead of the playoffs.

Josh Giddey

Over the past few weeks, the Thunder have been clinical. Wins have been coming in bunches at the most crucial part of the season. Josh Giddey's role has been very inconsistent and unclear at times, but there's no denying his statistical impact has reduced.

The most glaring and prevalent decline in Giddey's numbers is his scoring. Last season he averaged nearly 17 points per game, which has fallen to just over 11 this campaign.

There are multiple factors to consider when grasping this noticeable decrease, some of which include the emergence of Jalen Williams as a secondary threat and the offensive capability of rookie Chet Holmgren.

It's no secret that the playoffs are a time for adjustments. Mark Daigneault is going to have to make many, and a big one could be how he plays Giddey.

A clip went viral across the league recently of Jusuf Nurkic and the Phoenix Suns willingly giving Giddey space to encourage him to shoot from long distance.

Giddey is shooting at just under 33 percent from beyond the arc this season, so he will need to be better from that range. Defenses will be more and more willing for him to shoot an open triple rather than try and defend a Shai Gilegous-Alexander isolation or Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren pick-and-roll.

Fortunately, even despite the criticism, Giddey has shown that his confidence offensively is increasing and peaking at the right time.

Through five games in March, Giddey is averaging nearly 14 points per game, shooting 40 percent from three and 57 percent overall. In that stretch, the Thunder have won four out of their five games.

For the Thunder to have immense post-season success, Giddey will need to remain confident in himself. His Thunder teammates continue to give him the ball when he's open, and when he's knocking down the shots Oklahoma City becomes a nightmare to guard.

For the playoffs, Giddey must be confident, shoot when he's open, and make the easy decision. It's easy to let the pressure of the playoffs get into your head and have one overthink things, so composure will be key.

Otherwise, he will quickly see himself out of the closing lineups and witness his minutes cut dramatically.