2019 Thunder Facing Lots of Changes on the Court
2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Storylines
Whenever teams elevate themselves in a conference and make themselves into real playoff contenders - as the Lakers certainly have, and the Mavericks and Kings hope they have as well - there has to be teams that make way for them and miss the postseason. And, selflessly, it seems as if the Thunder are very much determined to be one of those teams. After winning 49 games last year, and having been among the contenders for several years, circumstances conspired to see this team take a massive step backwards. From having so many stars they had to trade James Harden away, to now, well, really not having that problem. Being good in this league is tough, and staying good is much tougher. It's not like the cupboards are totally empty, but losses are not going to be in short supply this year in Oklahoma City.
2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Additions and Departures
The team went all in on Paul George, surprisingly were able to re-sign him, and then found that he wasn't the solution. It wasn't his fault entirely, because though he played well, the chemistry wasn't there, and the team wasn't going to the promised land with a core of George and Russell Westbrook. So, when it became known that Kawhi Leonard wanted to play with George on the Clippers , the Thunder did a remarkable job of extracting value. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, immediately likeable because he's a Canadian, has shown a lot of promise and is quite capable of being the point guard of the future. Danilo Gallinari isn't a long-term solution at 31, but he's likely to be the team's top scorer this year, and he shoots the lights out from three. And they got five first-round picks and the ability to swap two more. Those picks don't start delivering until 2021, so the help won't come from them in the short term. But they sure make valuable trade pieces if the Thunder want to chase a disgruntled superstar of their own. Losing George really hurts, but it would have been tough for the team to do much better in return for him.
Once George was gone, Russell Westbrook lost his desire to stick it out in Oklahoma City. In short order, he was shipped to Houston to re-join Harden. The return wasn't as good as George's, but still solid - two more future first-round picks, two more pick swaps, and Chris Paul. Paul is on the wrong side of his prime, and the team now has two starting point guards and a very strong backup in Dennis Schroder - though SGA will likely play shooting guard in the short term - but it's not a terrible deal. And what stands out in all of it, again, is how much flexibility they have. They have a massive stack of first-round picks, and a plethora of point guards, to jumpstart their rebuild if they feel like it's worth the gamble.
Those were the big moves but not the only ones. They traded their 21st pick in the draft, Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke, to Memphis for the 23rd pick, Darius Bazley, and a second-round pick in 2024. Bazley is very interesting. He chose not to play in college last year and also opted out of the G-League, which was his initial target. Instead, he took an internship at Adidas, trained all year, and shrouded his massive potential in even more mystery. He's a project, but one that is going to be very fun to watch. And then, because you obviously can never have enough first-round picks, they swapped Jerami Grant to Denver for a first-rounder next year.
2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Futures Odds and Trends
Oklahoma City Thunder Futures Odds
NBA title odds : +10000
Western Conference title odds : +6600
Northwest Division title odds: +2500
Season win total: 31.5
Will the Oklahoma City Thunder make the playoffs: Yes +450, No -600
The very different looking roster last year was basically a wash for bettors, going 42-40 ATS. Not surprisingly, that put them in the middle of the league. They were a wash on totals as well, going under 41 times and over 40. They weren't very useful to bet on longer term despite their 49 wins, but one way or another this is a very different era for the team.
2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
This is going to be an interesting team to watch this year, but not because they are going to win a lot of games. They will lose more than they win. And though I like the over on the season win total, it's not by much. They will be interesting because they have so many bargaining chips, and so many possibilities, that they could do pretty much whatever they want. What if guys like Devin Booker or Karl-Anthony Towns get sick of being stuck on perpetual losers? And even before any deal happens, we get to see how they deal with a ridiculously crowded backcourt - they have young Hamidou Diallo as well, who we haven't talked about yet. From a league business perspective, this team is fascinating. From a game play perspective? Not so much.
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