The Oklahoma City Thunder are heading into what will likely be a bit of a growing type season. They have a lot of new and young talent that will be looking to make themselves household names. Luckily for them, many will be getting plenty of playing time in order for the management, coaches and fans to see what they are made of. With the preseason getting here sooner than many realize, it is time to take a look at the three things to watch for during the OKC Thunder’s 21/22 preseason.
Ball Handling Rates for Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey
Ball handling is an aspect of basketball that has certainly been getting much more attention during the era of advanced metrics. One of the areas being watch is ball handling and how often a player does it. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has certainly been one of the brightest stars for the OKC Thunder and there is no doubt that they want the ball in his hands. He averaged 23.7 points a game last season while dishing it out to average nearly six assists a game as well.
The questions start being asked now that Josh Giddey was added as the sixth overall pick in this most recent NBA draft. He is a solid young player and one that the Thunder should expect to handle the ball. It will be worth watching who ends up controlling and passing the rock more as it should signify more of what the Thunder wish to do with their offense this year.
Aleksej Pokusevski’s Progression
The skyscraping seven-footer out of Serbia was another highly touted draft pick the Thunder have picked up recently. He will be turning 20 this season and many are looking for him to make a nice jump this season. He averaged about eight points per game and nearly five rebounds but clearly needs a lot of polishing.
The great thing about the preseason is that it will allow for Aleksej to show what he has been working on. He is expected to be an important big man for the Thunder down in the paint and they will need him to be a bit more of a force than he has been. His size is intriguing and if he can show some nice growth during the preseason, Thunder fans may have a lot to get excited about.
3-Point Shooting Improvements
Three-point shooting has consistently been a problem for the Thunder and this problem has lasted for more than a few years. They finished last season tier for 28 in three-point shoot percentage and it has been a massive hindrance to their game. The hope is that the new talent they have been draft will start to pan out and allow this team to start knocking down the deep ball.
This will be an aspect that every fan will be watching as the preseason begins. If the team looks better from deep along with the progression of some of their young talent then the OKC fans may start to get excited and start sports betting Oklahoma. The plan for this team is clearly to build from the ground up and their plethora of draft picks is certainly going to help that in a major way.