Thunder urged to address key flaw in rotation this coming offseason

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

Coming into the 2024 NBA Playoffs, many viewed the lack of physicality and overall size of this OKC Thunder team as a major concern.

While such an attribute didn't prove to be all that troublesome in round one against the New Orleans Pelicans, through five games played against the Dallas Mavericks in this year's semifinals it has often been a major talking point and, in many ways, has aided in their current 3-2 deficit.

From lackluster rebounding efforts to their inability to counter the strength that guys like Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II play with on a nightly basis, it's quite evident that Oklahoma City would benefit from having extra mass and big bodies added to their core rotation.

Regardless of how their current postseason excursion plays out, this summer should be viewed as a time when the Thunder should look to address this particular void within coach Mark Daigneault's talent pool and, per Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, their main objective should realistically be to "search for stretch bigs."

OKC Thunder urged to pursue "stretch bigs" this coming offseason

"Oklahoma City has plenty of length, but heft is nearly non-existent. That seems to be a calculated decision, as not just any bulky big man would do. The Thunder need to maintain optimal spacing for their perimeter players to attack, so there's very little appetite for a paint-clogger in the post.

In a perfect world, though, they could find more size without sacrificing spacing. And with significant wiggle room available to them, they should be searching for exactly that."

Zach Buckley

For months now, Thunder fans have seen suggested names such as Andre Drummond and Jaxson Hayes tabbed as targets who, in theory, would help improve their vertically challenged construction and better their efforts in the rebounding department, an area they finished fourth-worst in throughout the regular season.

Of course, for those who actually have watched OKC play, it's clear that they perform at their best when running a five-out system and, in particular, when rookie phenom Chet Holmgren is manning the pivot.

Because of this, traditional big men options should be far from Sam Presti's mind and, instead, Buckley correctly suggests they should be focusing on adding bulkier talents who can also space the floor, with guys such as Indiana's Jalen Smith and Washington's Deni Avdija both being quality names to consider pursuing via free agency and trade, respectively.

As things currently stand, the Thunder find themselves gearing up for a do-or-die elimination game against the Dallas Mavericks and, in turn, could see their 2023-24 season come to an end Saturday night.

Regardless of Game 6's outcome, addressing their rather nonexistent size, especially in the frontcourt, should be a must for Presti and co. this offseason and Buckley is rightly urging them to pursue bigs who can space the floor to have them fit more soundly into coach Daigneault's scheme.