The NBA’s elimination of “take foul” helps OKC Thunder more than most

The Oklahoma City Thunder are rebuilding their team in interesting ways. Sam Presti hired Mark Daigneault as the fourth head coach of the OKC Thunder and led the team on a new path. Since hiring, Daigneault has preached about versatility, playmaking and pace.

The former G-League head coach has passed his first two seasons with the Thunder with flying colours. Despite the record, it’s easy to see and get behind his vision for the team. One of his big ideas is for everyone to grab a rebound and run away, pushing the transition and putting pressure on opposing defenses.

That was evident in his first two seasons as the OKC Thunder finished in the top-15 in PACE each season, finishing 7th in 2020-21 (101.61) and 12th in 2021-22 (99.39) . It is clear that the idea will be to get out and run.

Few have benefited more from the NBA eliminating take foul than the OKC Thunder

Since the season ended, the Thunders have added Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams through the draft. All will help to play faster with their coast-to-coast nature and excellent outlet passes.

Another way to improve the pace of play for the league and the Thunder is with the NBA eliminating the “take foul,” or as many call it, the most boring game in basketball.

Gone are the days of getting hit in turns and just grabbing the ball handler to stop the quick break, creating a side out and a chance to set the defense. The league will now impose tougher penalties for this.

Instead of a simple side-out, if a player fouls in transition to stop the quick kick-off, the disadvantaged team is awarded a free throw and the ball back. Now the team defending the fast break will see one of their players add to their foul total, give away a free throw and still forfeit the potential side-out.

We’re still a few weeks away from training camp and the start of the 2022-23 NBA season, but close your eyes and dream for a minute. Imagine how fast Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and the rest of the Thunder team can play, resulting in highlight-level rim finishes, wide-open triples when Chet Holmgren hits the lane fills correctly, and Shai Gilgeous -Alexander drives and kicks to second overall, and Josh Giddey’s improved rim finish and stunning passes keep the defense hot on their heels.

It’s a move few teams capitalize on better than the OKC Thunder, and is another feather in the cap of Sam Presti and Mark Daigneault, who have adjusted the team’s playstyle to accommodate this shift.

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