Mark Daigneault shushes roster construction criticisms following playoff exit

Following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season-ending loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the roster construction criticisms were loud.

The rebounding issues crept their ugly head again in OKC’s Game 6 loss to Dallas. It was outrebounded, 47-31. This included the Mavericks scoring 27 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds.

As Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington played massive roles in the Thunder’s Round 2 demise, many wondered why OKC didn’t go after either player during the trade deadline.

The criticisms were even louder considering the Thunder facilitated a three-team deal to help the Mavericks land Gafford. Considering Gordon Hayward was out of the rotation, a lack of more moves to help upgrade the roster turned into a talking point.

But according to Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault in his exit interview, he felt they had everything they needed to maximize this year’s roster.

“I thought we had everything we needed with this team to be the best team that we could,” Daigneault said. “We proved in the regular season with the season we had, that there’s no one we couldn’t beat literally.”

The Thunder finished as the top seed and top-four in net, offensive and defensive ratings. The 39-year-old said he shouldn’t waste time thinking about possible what-if situations.

“It’s just never my mentality to look left and right. Looking right in front of me, we had everything we needed,” Daigneault said. “We had a special group of guys. Part of what made them special is how they operated collectively.”

After their season-ending loss, Daigneault admitted the Mavericks were the better squad all series. Dallas’ defense did an excellent job bogging down OKC’s offense and funneling 3-point attempts to the players they likely wanted them to take.

“I thought from a team standpoint we had what we needed to win this series, and we ran into a team that played better than we did,” Daigneault said. “But I don’t think that’s an indictment on the roster. I don’t think that’s an indictment on any individual person or where we are.

“It’s simply we could have played better in the series, but it wasn’t an indictment on anything else.”

The Thunder will have more shots at a championship over the next few years. Most of the roster is still on rookie deals and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is under contract until 2027.

The youngest first seed in league history will have plenty of cap space and draft capital to work with in the offseason if they seek outside improvements to this roster. No other team in the league is set up for better long-term success.

This will be the first offseason where the Thunder are viewed as serious title contenders heading into the next season since Russell Westbrook was in town. While their playoff exit was a heartbreaker, it’ll be the first of many deep postseason runs.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire