After an entire decade of winning no fewer than 45 games per season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have got some work to do.
The Thunder had to go through a heartbreak this past summer. The team was forced to say goodbye to Paul George when he transferred over to the Los Angeles Clippers. As if that wasn’t enough, Oklahoma also had to part ways with Russell Westbrook who joined the Houston Rockets.
Now the Thunder have to do some soul searching. Not because they fell short during the first game of the season, but because their team is plagued with uncertainty.
the stage is set. pic.twitter.com/0x6oa9YapA
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 25, 2019
Some of their starting players, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, have little-to-no experience playing together. Talent isn’t a missing factor, but chemistry definitely might be.
With accolades such as being All-Defensive first Team seven times and All-NBA first team four times, a lot of the pressure this year will be on Paul to deliver with his performance. The experienced point guard still has $124 million left on his contract between now and 2021-22.
In the Thunder’s season opener to the Jazz, Paul scored 22 points while managing eight rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile, Gilgeous-Alexander led the team with 26 points. Gallinari scored 21 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Head coach Billy Donovan will have to find the way to make the inexperienced team work in unison. The restructuring the team is going through will leave many fans wondering and hoping for success. The Chesapeake Energy Arena might not see the results that it’s been so accustomed to in this past decade.
This season is full of endless possibilities for the Thunder. Talent isn’t an issue and Paul’s experience along with Gallinari’s should be enough to keep the team afloat.
It is unknown whether the team will make it to the playoffs in the West. One of the positive things for Thunder fans to keep in mind is that OKC holds 15 first-round picks between next spring and 2026.
The Thunder face off against the Washington Wizards today at home at 8 p.m.