The 2020-2021 NBA season is set to begin on December 22nd. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, this means they will have a longer offseason than teams who went deep into the playoffs. Oklahoma City’s playoff run ended in September at the hands of the Rockets.
However, the Thunder will have had a shorter offseason than teams who did not play in the NBA bubble. Teams like the Warriors and Knicks have not played basketball since March. The shortened offseason impacts Oklahoma City differently than other teams.
The Thunder entered the offseason searching for a new head coach and huge roster change. Sam Presti has a lot of responsibilities in this offseason. Presti’s led a coaching search for a new head coach and now he is finding a trade for Chris Paul.
The NBA starting in six weeks means that Sam Presti will have had less time to make decisions in the offseason. It is possible that he looks to what the Thunder did last season as a guide for this season.
Promoting Mark Daigneault to head coach
Coach Mark Daigneault was promoted to Head Coach. This decision may have happened due to the short offseason. Presti had searched for a coach for a long time, the Thunder were the last team to fill their coaching vacancy. Presti took his time but time constraints became important as the season start grew closer.
The hiring of Mark Daigneault made sense from a basketball perspective. Coach Mark is very familiar with the Thunder’s current system and his knowledge will aid the team this season.
There will not be the lengthy transitional period with Coach Mark that usually comes with the hire of a new coach. A coach from outside of the organisation would have taken to time to teach their style. In a short training camp, they would have had had trouble implementing their entire system before the season started.
It is natural to expect Daigneault to add his own adjustments to the Thunder system now that he is the head coach. However, the offensive and defensive schemes of the Thunder should not be drastically different to Donovan’s philosophy. This could come in handy for the Thunder in this upcoming season.
Limiting Roster Turnover
Since the beginning of last season, the Thunder have been expected to turn over the roster. It was largely expected that Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari would be traded quickly and the Thunder’s rebuilding process would commence. However, none of this occurred last season.
The Thunder traded nobody and made the playoffs. The team’s success stemmed from the talent on the roster and the chemistry that the guys had built together. A short offseason could mean that there is little roster turnover. The possibility of the Thunder running it back is not out of the question.
Within the month of November, the NBA will be very busy. The NBA Draft, the start of free agency and the beginning of training camp will all take place within this month. The quick offseason could mean that the Thunder continue with continuity.
Unless Presti wants to expedite the rebuilding process, the Thunder’s roster will be mostly the same next year. Although, that could all change quickly in the next few weeks. Chris Paul has been in trade rumors recently and it sounds like a deal is close.
In the last few days, Chris Paul has been linked to teams like the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. Chris Paul may be the only piece of business done by Sam Presti in this offseason. There may not be time to orchestrate a trade for Schroder or a sign and trade for Gallinari.