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Oklahoma City Thunder 2022-23 Preview
Chet & SGA are out, but the 5-Out read based flow offense will still be entertaining for the young Thunder.
Welcome to the start of our 2022-23 previews for every NBA team! These breakdowns are designed to look at stats, film & anything I found interesting in my preparation for the upcoming NBA season.
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Note: if you are reading this in the e-mail-only form some of the gifs and videos do not always show up correctly. All stats taken from Cleaning the Glass.
2021-22 Record: 24-58
Net Rating: -8.6 (28th)
Offensive Rating: 104.8 (29th)
Low turnovers are always a positive, and having players like Giddey/SGA allows the Thunder offense to keep the turnovers low. With SGA out early, the offense will likely struggle again, but they only turned the ball over 14% of the time, ranking 14th in the NBA.
The Thunder didn’t excel in one play type, with both transition and half-court offense both being below average, but they did do well off steals. Ranking in the top 10 in frequency and points added per 100 possessions is a positive sign, but being below average in both areas is not ideal.
Not making shots is not great. Ranking 29th in eFG% while not drawing fouls means your offense is going to be bad - no way around it.
Defensive Rating: 113.4 (19th)
Good defensive teams don’t foul. The Thunder finished 4th in FT Rate, a positive sign and technique that should translate in future seasons. By not giving opponents offense free chances to score (literally, with free throws) it at least makes them earn it by making shots.
Making team take the toughest shots possible is half the battle when creating a good defensive system. Last season the Thunder ranked 8th in defensive location eFG% - or in simpler terms they forced teams to take more mid range shots while protecting the rim.
The problem wasn’t where the opponents’ offense took the shots from, when they did they shot the highest FG% from mid-range against the Thunder, including the best from short mid (floaterish) range.
5 Out Offense
The Thunder runs a great 5-Out offense that is designed to move the ball side to side and force the defense to guard multiple actions.
Once more talent gets involved, I am excited to see if and how these modern concepts make defenses make tougher decisions and allow everyone to see how much fun the Thunder’s offense can be.
5 Out Ghost
One of the more common concepts in the Thunder’s 5-Out offense are ghost screens.
I have talked about ghost screens before, but it essentially is designed to create confusion for both the on ball defender and player guarding the screener and force them to either switch on the run or the coverage will be blown.
More on Ghost Screens:
5 Out Paired Cutter
One of the more common concepts in 5-Out offense is adding a paired cutter when the ball is driven.
This is triggered on the drive and typically is the opposite wing or corner cutting into space when the defense reacts to the drive.
More on Paired Cutter:
A very common action in NBA offenses, the “Zoom” action is just short hand for 2-Man actions that allow the offense to make reads playing off each other.
This is started off with a pass to the middle of the floor and with the 5-Out spacing allows for several reads to backdoor, hand off, keep or flow into a ballscreen.
More on Zoom:
Delay Zoom Spain
In After Time Sets, the Thunder will go to this hand-back action and then use Spain action or a backscreen for the ballscreener in the middle of the floor.
More on Spain Action:
One of the other ways teams use read and react spacing is to play out of the elbows/flash game.
This can be a quick split cut in the middle of the floor and then go into ballsceen/hand off action.
Another way this can be used is to screen for the player in the corner, an action I call quick.
Elbow Flare Slip
When teams switch, they can use Flare/Slip action on the weakside to catch teams out for layups and then go into second side action.
The Thunder also use “Strong” action or a stagger screen for the opposite corner forcing the defense to guard 3 players and actions at once.
Elbow Strong Reject
This opens up for easier reads since most of the time the catch at the “elbow” is really spaced out and caught around the 3 point line, allowing this reject read to the basket to be open.
Elbow Strong Slip
If teams are going to switch up the line, this opens up gaps and opportunities for slips to the rim.
If you liked this breakdown feel free to share it & if you have any other scenarios, plays, or thoughts on any future breakdowns let me know in the comments below!
Note: if you are reading this in the e-mail-only form some of the gifs and videos do not always show up correctly.