Tip-Off: 8 PM CT
Location: Vivint Center (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Television: Bally Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game
The 2021-22 NBA season is upon us, and tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder kickoff their season on the road against the Utah Jazz. The two clubs are extremely polarizing when you take a look at where they are and what their expectations are for this season.
The Thunder is preparing for yet another season of tanking in hopes of continuing the rebuild towards a better future. While getting back to winning may not be too far away for OKC, the 2021-22 campaign is going to focus far more on growth and development than it will racking up wins. With the youngest team in the NBA, the Thunder will have plenty of opportunities to grow and mature, and who knows what special ways they may end up surprising us.
The Jazz, on the other hand, are on a timeline where they essentially need to win now. They have some young talent in Donovan Mitchell, who is only 25 years old, but Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic are in their 30s, and both have struggled to stay healthy at times. If Utah can stay healthy this season, they will be a serious contender in the West.
Just because the Thunder is set to lose a lot of games doesn’t mean that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander won’t find a way to stand out. SGA is on the brink of stardom, and he is sure to make plenty of matchups this season memorable ones. With familiar faces like Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley besides him, along with a number of rookies that have a lot of potential—including Josh Giddey, the no. 6 pick in the 2021 draft—there’s a lot to look forward to in spite of the incoming losses.
- PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- SG: Luguentz Dort
- SF: Josh Giddey
- PF: Darius Bazley
- C: Derrick Favors
- PG: Mike Conley
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
- No injuries.
- Trent Forrest is OUT (concussion protocol).
- Rudy Gay is OUT (right heel injury recovery).
- Eric Paschall is PROBABLE (right index finger dislocation).
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 33-16 (20-4 at home, 13-12 on the road) against the Jazz in the regular season and 2-4 (2-1 at home, 0-3 on the road) in the playoffs.
- Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder has won the season series against the Jazz 10 times, lost it twice, and tied once.
- The Thunder went 0-3 against the Jazz last season (0-2 at home, 0-1 on the road).