Photo Credits: Oklahoma City Blue/G-League
The Oklahoma City Thunder came calling back for Aleksej Pokusevski Friday, as first reported by Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.
With the announcement, the Thunder have pulled three of their four Blue assignees in the past ten days. With the lone member still in Orlando being Moses Brown.
The franchise made things clear when Pokusevski was originally sent down — his job was to settle into the game. Blue Head Coach Grant Gibbs did just that, playing the first-round selection 13 games in a more expansive 25.2 minute role. Pokusevski turned into the G-League social media team’s darling, steaming out a highlight reel on a night-to-night basis.
His final statline of 7.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists rendered all aspects of play. The 19-year-old did have slip-ups with shooting splits of 31.2%, 27.0% from distance, and giving up 3.7 turnovers, but his potential far outweighed the negatives. The Serbian Assassin showcased two double-doubles on the roster, ironing out season-highs of 19 points, 19 rebounds, and 9 assists.
The arrival time of Poku raises some eyebrows. The Blue face a must-win regular-season closer on Saturday, and playing without him really empties their power-forward position. Prior history in Jerome and Hall suggest Mark Daigneault wants him back 100% for their season resumption on March 11.
Aleksej Pokusevski likely returns with a similar bench role of 17 minutes at the forwards positions, yet a looming trade deadline gives opportunity for even more time in the frontcourt.
Expect Coach Gibbs to bolster minutes in Jaylen Hoard, Vincent Edwards, and Melvin Frazier Jr. to suffice Pokusevski’s previous role with the team.