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Evaluating the Oklahoma City Thunder at the All-Star Break

We examine the Thunder going into the All-Star Break, looking at some futures betting lines, injuries and one player to watch in fantasy basketball.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drives against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team on DraftKings Sportsbook. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.

Where do the Oklahoma City Thunder stand at the All-Star Break?

Record: 33-22
Playoff Chances: 100%
Championship Odds: +15000
Division Odds: +900
Conference Championship winner: +8000
6th Man Odds: Dennis Schroder (+200)
Most Improved Player Odds: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+650)

OKC entered the All-Star Break in a much better position than anybody really envisioned at the beginning of the season. Chris Paul has worked out with the Thunder so far and the team is in position to secure a playoff berth despite losing Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Pretty incredible. The issue is making the playoffs in the West outside of the top 4 seeds seems pointless. The Thunder will likely need to face either the Clippers, Nuggets or Jazz in the first round. Can they give any of those teams a series? Sure. Can they win said series? The odds are slim. The Thunder lack depth and size in the front court, which would cause issues against any team other than the Rockets. Ultimately, OKC will still be looking to the future, which is bright considering how well Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has looked.

Prediction: Thunder secure the No. 7 seed and lose in the first round.

Key Injuries for Oklahoma City Thunder

Darius Bazley, SF (knee) — out indefinitely
Andre Roberson, SG (knee) — out indefinitely

The Thunder aren’t going through any major injuries down the stretch, which should help them keep ground in the playoff seeding. Bazley has shown some promise this season as a serviceable big/wing player. He’s expected to be out until March at the earliest. Roberson has no timetable for a return from his knee injury and may be held out the rest of the year. Neither player contributes much, but again, it’s an issue of depth. The Thunder should be fine with the rotation they have, but if Nerlens Noel or Steven Adams were to miss extended time, that wouldn’t be good. Both players have dealt with various injuries all season and are at risk.

Fantasy basketball spotlight: Nerlens Noel

We all know about the three-headed guard trio the Thunder roll out, but like I’ve mentioned, the front court is lacking. This makes Noel’s role even more important and he’s actually bounced back nicely this season when healthy. In 46 games, he’s averaging 7.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18.7 minutes per contest. If we stretch that out a bit, it’s 15.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.0 steals per 36 minutes. If Noel can start getting around the 25-30 minutes per game, his fantasy value could really spike down the stretch and into the fantasy basketball playoffs. I’d put Noel on my season-long radar moving forward if I were in need of defensive stats and rebounds.

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