The Oklahoma City Thunder will enter the 2019-20 NBA season with modest expectations and, in some respects, it is easy to see why. Paul George was dealt to Los Angeles in a future-facing deal and, while the Thunder did acquire an All-Star level point guard in Chris Paul when sending Russell Westbrook to Houston, Oklahoma City certainly seems to be in a rebuilding mode. However, the Thunder do have some intriguing talent in a present-day sense and, at the team’s media day on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan floated an interesting rotational scenario.
In short, he might play the team’s top three point guards… at the same time.
Billy Donovan says there might be times when all three of Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schröder are on the floor together.
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) September 30, 2019
This certainly wouldn’t be a “regular” look from the Thunder, simply because Oklahoma City would be giving up a lot from a size perspective and, by proxy, defense might be an issue. However, depth isn’t exactly a strength of this roster and, if Donovan wants to lean into the position-less revolution, it may not be as crazy as you would think.
Andre Roberson is reportedly nearing full strength as training camp opens and his presence would be provide much-needed defense on the wing for Oklahoma City. With that said, only Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari and Nerlens Noel are locked in as rotation-level players in the frontcourt and aside from the three point guards, Terrence Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo could be in for the team’s largest remaining workloads.
Make no mistake, a lineup including Chris Paul, Dennis Schröder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be tiny, even by modern standards, and shooting issues from Schröder would be limiting for the unit’s dynamism. That comes with the territory when sending three point guards on to the floor together but, even if Paul is his old, fantastic self, it wouldn’t necessarily be a snug fit. Still, it wouldn’t be that difficult to argue that the trio represents three of Oklahoma City’s top seven players, and NBA teams generally want their top talents taking the floor together.
This is a mismatched roster in many respects, both from a positional standpoint and from the perspective of veterans like Paul, Adams and Gallinari seemingly miscast on a rebuilding squad. That formula will almost certainly result in some profound weirdness for the Thunder this season and, if media day is any indication, it might include a three-guard front on a semi-regular basis.