The Oklahoma City Thunder will return home from a mini-west coast road trip, playing host to the Detroit Pistons. The Thunder will only have eight players available for their contest against the Pistons after the injury report came out, along with the news of the team releasing Justin Jackson. Along with being down a two-way player, after converting Moses Brown to a full-time NBA deal, they are now down a roster spot left behind by Justin Jackson, as well as the empty roster spot that Al Horford is sitting on while not playing, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (foot), Darius Bazley (Shoulder), Lu Dort (Concussion), Josh Hall (Concussion), Isaiah Roby (Concussion), and Mike Muscala (Ankle) will miss this contest as well.
The OKC Thunder will have Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kenrich Williams, Aleksej Pokusevski, Ty Jerome, Darius Miller, Moses Brown, and Tony Bradley. While being extremely short-handed, having only the minimum required players by the NBA to continue, one of those players is Darius Miller, who has played above 13 minutes, in just four games. Two of those four games? He logged 14 minutes.
The Thunder will be relying heavily on young players, an active roster that includes just three first-round picks (Aleksej Pokusevski, 2020 and Ty Jerome, 2019 and Tony Bradley, 2017).
This is the start of the biggest two-week stretch of the Thunder season. As the team tries to catch up in the race for the bottom, and the ultimate crown Jewel of Cade Cunningham, they must take advantage of playing teams like the Pistons, Cavs, Wizards, and Raptors, in the next two weeks and losing to said teams. That starts tonight against Detroit.
The Thunder are only three-point underdogs to the Pistons, despite all of their roster struggles. Safe to say, I am taking DET -3. The Pistons have rookie point guard Killian Haynes back, he has missed most of this season with a hip injury, this game will present an interesting matchup with fellow rookie point guard Theo Maledon.
Of course the rookies, given all the injuries, are the main storylines to follow in this game. Aleksej Pokusevski, Theo Maledon, even throw in Moses Brown to the conversation will have a ton of eyes on them. This roster construction will have a lot of funky lineups, when three of your available players are above 6’10, Mark Daigneault will have his hands full mixing and matching.
The Pistons game marks the return of some Thunder legends. Hamidou Diallo, Jerami Grant, and Frank Jackson. This game also serves as the Svi Mykhailiuk revenge game, and he will get a ton of touches, so watch for him to be amped up.
After all the moving and shaking, those of us in the media will talk with Mark Daigneault prior to tonight’s contest, and this story will be updated with his quotes.
Mark Daigneault updates by confirming Jaylen Hoard, and Justin Robinson will be available and play in this contest. That brings the Thunder’s players available total to ten.
Mark Daigneault names the starters as Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Aleksej Pokusevski, Kenrich Williams, and Moses Brown.