Start time - 8:00 p.m. (CT)
Broadcaster - Bally Sports Oklahoma
It has been 85 days since the Thunder last played basketball and a lot has changed during that time. Sam Presti has added four new rookies to the roster who all have tantalising, intriguing potential. It is now time to see how these players perform in the first Summer League of the year.
The Thunder head to Utah and will play three games on consecutive days. I expect Coach Kameron Woods to be creative with the roster and try different lineups given the time crunch. The lineup featuring Josh Giddey, Tre Mann and Chet Holmgren is obviously the star billing but Summer League is about unearthing diamonds in the rough. You do not do that without seeing what players are capable of in real game situations.
Summer League will also be a great opportunity to see how last year's rookies have developed. Vit Krejci and Lindy Waters III both finished the season incredibly strong. I am curious to see what improvements they have made on their game.
Krejci was very solid as a gritty point forward who brought others into play but his shooting was a weakness. Vit only shot 32.7% from deep last year and I am curious to see if he has made tangible improvements to his shot form.
Oklahoma City have one of the stronger rosters in Summer League basketball. The Thunder have sent the entire team except for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. JRE, Aaron Wiggins and Tre Mann will all see minutes on the court. All three were productive contributors for OKC last season.
The most intriguing storyline emanating from tonight’s game is the debut of Chet Holmgren. There has been a lot said about Holmgren’s ability to play in the NBA and whether his body will hold up against physical, burly centers. Tonight’s game may start to provide some answers.
Utah have two traditional, bruising centers on their roster in Kofi Cockburn and Tacko Fall who should provide a challenge to Holmgren’s skinny frame. Chet can use today’s game to prove that all of the talk is nothing more than stereotypes.
All I will advise is to sit back and enjoy the Thunder play basketball. We have entered a new era of the Thunder and I am very excited to see what that looks like.