The NBA has entered the slowest part of its calendar in late July and August.
With the draft and summer league over and most of the big free agency moves already made, this dead period has provided an opportune time to reflect back on the offseason as training camp approaches.
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The Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason was highlighted by the addition of Cason Wallace, who went No. 10 in the 2023 NBA draft. The Thunder also made several moves to absorb expensive/expiring veteran deals at the cost of draft picks.
Over the past weekend, I decided to conduct a Thunder fan survey that asked 21 questions related to several topics surrounding OKC. The survey received 1,583 responses – although it is important to note that not all questions were answered with every submission.
Let’s take a look at the results and see how Thunder fans feel about various talking points surrounding the franchise.
As the Thunder enter the season with playoff hopes, expect the home crowd to be bigger. Local fans expect to attend at least a few games this season.
The overwhelming favorite is for the Thunder to win between 41-50 games. This would be an improvement from last season’s 40-42 record. If the Thunder is at the high end of that range, it ought to be enough to avoid the play-in tournament.
Most fans are happy with OKC’s offseason. Nearly 94% of voters graded the offseason as an A or B.
This is consistent with overall expectations for victory. Most fans expect the Thunder to either lose in the first round or the second round – which sounds about right considering how young and inexperienced teams usually develop.
Thunder fans are happy, to say the least, with how the team is being handled.
With three seasons under his belt, Mark Daigneault’s approval rating continues to rise. After signing a long-term extension, the decision makers are on the same page as the fan base about Daigneault.
The Thunder have used the offseason to continue to bolster their young core by adding Cason Wallace and Keyontae Johnson. OKC has also used its $32 million in cap space to essentially buy draft picks.
The Thunder traded up two spots to select Wallace. Given OKC’s track record in the lottery, most fans either loved the pick or are willing to wait before judging it.
The Thunder have an odd rookie class as it involves three separate drafts. Chet Holmgren is the lopsided winner when it comes to which rookie will make an immediate impact — which is fair considering he’s the only one with a guaranteed starting spot.
Missing an entire season due to a foot injury hasn’t deterred Thunder fans from Holmgren. Nearly 81% believe he will either be an All-Star or All-NBA player when it’s all said and done.
Gilgeous-Alexander enjoyed the best season of his career last year, earning All-NBA honors and finishing No. 5 in MVP voting. Most fans expect a similar/better season next year as he enters his age 25 year.
After finishing No. 2 in the Rookie of the Year poll, nearly two-thirds of Thunder fans believe Jalen Williams will surpass Josh Giddey and Ousmane Dieng.
The Thunder are reaching a point where it’s almost time to drop some of their young projects due to roster space. Over 41% believe that the trio of Aleksej Pokusevski, Tre Mann and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will not fit in the long term for OKC.
Lu Dort is under contract for four more seasons, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be in OKC for the duration of the deal. That said, 55% of voters still think he’ll be a long-term fit.
Two of the Thunder’s newest additions likely won’t be here long, according to the voters. OKC acquired TyTy Washington Jr. and Usmane Garuba of the Atlanta Hawks, but with guard spots at a premium, they will have to earn their stays.
The Thunder got Davis Bertan and Victor Oladipo’s big salaries in trades. Meanwhile, Jack White was added on a multi-year deal. Nearly half of fans believe Bertans will most likely stay, as he is owed at least $5 million for the 2024-25 season.
A new arena must be built to keep the Thunder in OKC, and the voters realized that with this issue.
OKC Mayor David Holt already said he believes a new arena can be built without raising taxes, but these results showed local fans were willing to shell out extra money to secure a new arena if necessary.
The Thunder will have a disappointing season if ___
This enrollment question received 1,311 responses. The most popular answer – by a wide margin – was to miss the playoffs.
The second most popular pick was if the Thunder dealt with injuries — specifically to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren.
If the Thunder do end up making a splashy trade, who do you think it’s for?
This enrollment question received 1,225 responses. As you can imagine, most of the answers varied as to what type of player the Thunder should acquire in the future if they decide to go that route.
The most popular player profile was an All-NBA wing/forward – so players like Pascal Siakam, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were popular choices.
As his situation in Philadelphia continues to grow shaky, reigning MVP Joel Embiid was also a frequent name. There was also a healthy amount of response from fans who don’t have anyone in mind and would rather see the young core grow.