The 2022-23 NBA season is now officially less than a month away. The Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day will take place on Monday, where the bootcamp will begin.
This will be an important period for Thunder, as the front office and training staff have to make key menu decisions. The list should be reduced to 15 players with whom the team will enter the season. The training camp will be the players’ last real opportunity to showcase their talents. Whether it’s getting a jump start, getting a turn in the rotation, landing a spot on the roster, or boosting a chance in the G League system, every player has something different at stake.
Regardless of what each camp member is looking to achieve, who has the most proven thunder list that leads to the final decisions?
Despite taking a step back last season in terms of role and minutes, Maledon still has an upside. Oklahoma City has added more guard depth over the holiday season, so the former second-round pick will really need to establish himself in the camp.
It’s still unclear where exactly Maledon fits into this list, but his roof is becoming more and more apparent. If he’s going to be part of the Oklahoma City roster in the long run, it looks like he’ll be a backup guard. As a result of this, he is a man who will likely be cut short when it comes time to make those decisions in a few weeks.
Entering the season of the decade, Bazley has a lot to prove. While he likely won’t be a youngster who will be cut before the season, he is absolutely fighting for a place in the starting lineup. It was very inconsistent with this point, but the high points are very high.
There isn’t a lot of depth in the front yard this season for the Thunder, but Bazley still has to earn his place in the spin. He finished last season strong, unlocking some of his defensive potential.
As it pertains to players likely to be left out over the next few weeks, Krejci is definitely on the list. It’s the most unproven returning player on the list, but that also makes it the most interesting. He’s had knee injuries over the past few years, but he’s been looking a lot better lately because he’s so healthy.
What sets Krejci apart is his height at 6 feet 7 and the accompanying versatility. He’s a good facilitator and has proven that he can defeat three times. While in training camp, Krejci will have to prove that he deserves a place on the shortlist, hoping to continue the success he had in the NBA Summer League.
When Pokusevski was drafted, it was clearly legitimate but the sky was the limit. Now two years into his career, it’s clear he’s likely to have the roof of a very impressive complementary piece. It will be about finding that perfect role and limiting mistakes moving forward.
If Pokusevski can turn into a man who can defeat a triple, play a crippling defense, and create a mismatch with his unique frame, he might be the perfect player for the role of Thunder when it comes time for the playoffs. Defining that role and turning into part of the rotation starts next week in training camp, but he will need to play within himself and not try to do too much.
Jerome’s former first-round pick was in danger of being eliminated from the roster in the next few weeks. In theory, he’s a deep threat to Oklahoma City, but his 3-point shot numbers are largely inconsistent. He shot less than 30% from depth in his first and third season in the NBA, but 42.3% in his second year. Which is more indicative of Jerome’s shooter genre?
Outside of shooting, Jerome will need to prove he can influence the win in other ways. In training camp, the 6-foot-5 goalkeeper will need to demonstrate his ability to be an off the bench facilitator and play respectable defense. There’s no doubt that it could be a prized piece one day, but just building the list this season can be a challenge.