2018-2019 Oklahoma City Thunder Team Preview and Betting Picks
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Billy Donovan – Head Coach
Western Conference – Northwest Division
2017 Record: 48-34
The Oklahoma City Thunder were the 4 seed in the NBA Western Conference Postseason last year and the ending didn't go as planned.
The Thunder expected to compete against the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the conference however they were outplayed in the first round, losing to the Utah Jazz in 6 games.
This year, they are expecting a much stronger finish as they have retained their core set of players and added some decent depth coming off the bench.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the 2018-2019 Oklahoma City Thunder and determine where we think they will end up.
Oklahoma City Thunder Coaching
The Oklahoma City Thunder are led by Head Coach Billy Donovan. Donovan has been with the team since 2015 and has led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the postseason in each year since he has been with the team.
In his first year, in 2015, the Thunder went to the Conference Finals and in the following two years, they lost in the first round of the playoffs. Donovan is most widely known for his younger days when he was the Head Coach of the Florida Gators.
While the Head Coach of the Florida Gators, Donovan had numerous accolades including multiple NCAA Championships. Donovan will be looking to find a bit more success this year with the Thunder, in his 4th season with the team.
Oklahoma City Thunder Offseason Transactions
- June 22, 2018 – The Thunder used their 1st of three second-round NBA Draft pick to select Kentucky Wildcats Shooting Guard Hamidou Diallo.
- June 22, 2018 – The Thunder used their 2nd of three second-round NBA Draft picks to select Virginia Cavaliers Shooting Guard Devon Hall.
- June 22, 2018 – The Thunder used their 3rd of there three second-round NBA Draft picks to select Texas-Arlington Power Forward Kevin Hervey.
- July 6, 2018 – The Thunder agreed to terms with Paul George on an extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City for multiple years.
- July 6, 2018 – The Thunder signed free agent Nerlens Noel, who was formerly with the Dallas Mavericks.
- July 7, 2018 – The Thunder agreed to terms with Jerami Grant on an extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City for multiple years.
- July 7, 2018 – The Thunder signed Deonte Burton to a two-way contract.
- July 12, 2018 – The Thunder agreed to terms with Raymond Felton on an extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City for at least one more year.
- July 20, 2018 – The Thunder traded Dakari Johnson to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rodney Purvis.
- July 20, 2018 – The Thunder traded Rodney Purvis to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Abdel Nader.
- July 25, 2018 – The Thunder completed a three-way trade with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76’ers that landed Dennis Schroder and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. The Thunder sent Carmelo Anthony to Atlanta Hawks as part of the trade.
- August 13, 2018 – The Thunder signed undrafted free agent Tyler Davis, formerly of the Texas A&M Aggies, to a two-way contract.
- August 20, 2018 – The Thunder lost Daniel Hamilton in free agency, who signed with the Atlanta Hawks.
- August 21, 2018 – The Thunder lost PJ Dozier in free agency, who signed with the Boston Celtics.
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting 5
Russell Westbrook (PG) – Without a doubt, he is a nightly triple-double waiting to happen. He is one of the top Point Guards in the league and is the premier player on the Thunder. He was the 2016-2017 MVP of the League and a contender last year for the same award. He is capable of scoring in the 30-40’s each and every night, and will once again be a contender for the league leader in points in 2018.
Andre Roberson (SG) – Roberson is coming into this season off a major injury, where he had a ruptured patellar. When he is healthy, he is one of the best defensive players in the league but staying healthy is the key.
Paul George (SF) – Many suspected that George would leave Oklahoma City but when push came to shove, he has unfinished business to settle and wanted to play alongside his friend Russell Westbrook. George will be the #2 scoring option in OK City and will fill his stat line up nightly.
Jerami Grant (PF) – For now, I have him in the starting lineup but I’m not sure this is where he is going to end up. Last year, he came off the bench and was a great contributor to the team but the teams lack of depth at the Power Forward position could force him into the starting role for the season.
Steven Adams (C) – Adams has gone from being a bench replacement player to one of the top defensive Centers in the league. He is a rebounding machine, who averaged 5 offensive and 4 defensive rebounds per game last year. Just a small increase in scoring will make him an elite contributor to the team.
Oklahoma City Thunder Key Bench Players
Dennis Schroder (PG) – Schroder averaged nearly 20 points per game last year with the Atlanta Hawks and now he comes to Oklahoma City to play off the bench with the second unit. Schroder will be a great insurance plan in case any injuries occur that force Westbrook to the sidelines.
Nerlens Noel (C) – Nerlens Noel needed a fresh start and this is where he finds it. He has been with the Dallas Mavericks and now will play back-up to Steven Adams. Noel can provide a valuable asset off the bench and play alongside Adams in big man lineups.
2018 Predictions and Betting Outlook for Oklahoma City Thunder
With a tandem of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, this team is going to compete. They are going to score points on a nightly basis and now, with the combination of Adams in the paint and Noel coming off the bench, they are going to be tough off the boards.
The Thunder are one of the surprising teams of 2018-2019! I think they put this team back together with the intentions of not only going to the postseason but competing for the NBA Finals Championship.
You can bet them to win the NBA Finals Championship at +3500 at MyBookie. I personally think that is a great value and one of the best plays for futures for this upcoming season. I strongly feel that Thunder will not only go to the playoffs but they are going to compete against Golden State for winning the Western Conference and potentially the NBA Finals.
Finally, the last wager I recommend is playing the Thunder to go over 48.5 regular season wins. Last year, they had 48 wins and this team got better in the offseason. There is no reason to think they will take a step backward and therefore they should easily go over 48.5 wins.
Our friends over at MyBookie have set the following lines on the Oklahoma City Thunder:
- Odds to Win NBA Championship: +3500
- Odds to Win Western Conference Championship: +2200
- Odds to Win Northwest Division: +220
- NBA Regular Season Wins Total: 48.5
- NBA MVP Odds: Russell Westbrook +1200
- NBA MVP Odds: Paul George +10000
Don’t forget to check out our NBA Betting Guide to stay up to date on all of the happenings with each team in the NBA throughout the season!