The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up their preseason with a loss to the Chicago Bulls for the second straight game. The next time the Thunder play, it will be for real. Until then, the Thunder need to cut their roster down to their 17 players (including two-way players) by Monday.
Sam Presti and the OKC organization have already made progress on their roster cut down, entering Friday they needed to waive three players to get their roster set. Since the final buzzer sounded in the final preseason game, the Thunder have waived TJ Leaf and Admiral Schofield.
This has certainly thrown a wrinkle into my Roster projection, yes all four of them, I have to admit *cough, Stephen A. Smith voice* I did not see this coming.
I thought TJ Leaf would be a near-lock to make the roster as a former first-round pick that Sam Presti had coveted for a long time. For Admiral Schofield, this comes as less of a surprise. While he entered training camp with a lot of potential, after being thrown into a trade with the Washington Wizards, he failed to scratch the surface of that potential throughout the preseason.
Now for Schofield, he will likely be headed to the OKC Blue, without whatever form of a G-League season they are going to have.
For Leaf, the surprise comes from the fact he had a decent game Saturday against the Spurs, living up to the expectation that he could be a contributing player at the NBA level. However, the UCLA product fell out of the rotation for the final two preseason games.
One way to explain the Leaf exit is that now the Thunder can truly embrace their new pace-and-space play style.