No team made bolder moves this off-season than the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook is now joined by Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to put the Thunder on the short list of Western Conference contenders.
Here’s a look at the Thunder roster and projected starting lineup heading into the 2017-18 season.
C- Steven Adams, Dakari Johnson
PF- Carmelo Anthony, Jerami Grant, Nick Collison, Patrick Peterson
SF- Paul George, Josh Huestis, Kyle Singler
SG- Andre Roberson, Terrance Ferguson, Daniel Hamilton (two-way), Alex Abrines, P.J. Dozier
PG- Russell Westbrook, Raymond Felton
After months of rumors of George desiring to play for the Lakers, the Thunder shocked the basketball world by making a blockbuster deal with the Pacers to acquire George. Months later, the Thunder went out and acquired Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks.
Both players are entering the final year of their contracts, and Oklahoma City is hoping they can convince them to commit long-term after the season. Westbrook signed a contract extension over the off-season.
Oklahoma City was already competitive with last year’s MVP Russell Westbrook. This year, Westbrook will be joined by two legit star players in George and Anthony. The key for the Thunder’s success is how long it will take this trio to acclimate to playing with one another.
While the Thunder enter the season with a lot of star power, OKC had to sacrifice some of their depth in order to make this happen. Oklahoma City will need some of their young players to step into contributing roles for the Thunder to contend with the NBA’s elite.
One of those players is first round draft pick Terrance Ferguson. The guard is a Tulsa native, but played last season in Australia. Ferguson drew attention during the draft process for his athleticism. His basketball skills are a bit raw, but Thunder fans are hoping Ferguson can contribute right away.
Westbrook has been known for his scoring over his career, and it will be worth watching how he adjusts his play to fit with the team’s new pieces. Westbrook does have experience playing with multiple stars, as the Thunder once had Kevin Durant and James Harden.