Paris Lawson

By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter

Preview: Thunder at Jazz - 10/20

After three weeks of Training Camp, four preseason games and a slate of practices, the Thunder is finally set to open its 82-game regular season. The team kicks things off with a trip to Salt Lake City to face Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

What to Watch

NBA Debuts
The Thunder has five players on its roster who have yet to record official NBA playing minutes including the squad’s four rookies, who all logged significant preseason playing time. Keep an eye out on how the Thunder’s young additions apply their many lessons from Training Camp in their first ever taste of true NBA action.

Center Rotation
The Jazz are anchored by reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in the paint. The Thunder used the preseason to take a look at the various big men on its roster and how they fit into different lineups and player combinations. Be on the lookout for how the Thunder utilizes its rotation of big men against Gobert’s size.

Australian Connection
There will be two Australia natives suiting up for Wednesday’s matchup: OKC’s Josh Giddey and Utah’s Joe Ingles. Giddey began his professional basketball career with the Adelaide 36ers, the city where Ingles was born. The two have become close ever since Giddey first joined the NBL.


Wednesday’s matchup marks the fourth consecutive season where the Thunder has opened up its regular season on the road and the third time in OKC history opening up against the Jazz specifically. The Thunder’s last debut game in Salt Lake City took place in October of 2019 which marked Darius Bazley’s NBA debut. Heading into his third NBA season, Bazley has now recorded two season’s worth of on-court experiences including six matchups against the Jazz.


Darius Bazley on his excitement for the regular season
“Super excited. The offseason was really long. Training Camp was really long. It’s good to get back into the swing of things.“

Josh Giddey on the competitiveness of practice
"It helps having a really competitive and tough environment to practice in and guys want to make each other better. That really translates to on the floor on game nights."

Scouting Report

Utah went 2-2 over its four preseason matchups, closing out with a pair of wins at home against the Pelicans and the Bucks. It was rookie guard Jared Butler who led the Jazz in scoring and assists through the preseason with 18 points and 4.3 assists per game. This season, Utah is returning its core lineup from last year headlined by Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Gobert. The Jazz also returned Sharp-shooter Bojan Bogdanovic, reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson and Royce O’Neale.

Last season, the Utah was the only team to rank in the top 4 in both offensive and defensive rating while also leading the league in 3-pointers made and attempted per game. As the preseason unfolded, the group has shown more of the same as they ranked fourth in percentage of total points from the 3-point line.


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