The Oklahoma City Thunder have placed grave emphasis on player development in recent years. As a proving ground for many, the Thunder opens their doors for Summer League play. In prior years, the Thunder’s roster consists of recent draftees, Oklahoma City Blue members, and overseas prospects. For this season, Oklahoma City will be out one of their hottest commodities in Summer League — Aleksej Pokusevski.
As reported by Thunder GM Sam Presti in his annual post-draft presser, he came forth with the announcement of Pokusevski’s Summer League absence.
“We have him [Pokusevski] on a specific track and plan for the summer, but we don’t really feel like the Summer League actually would be a huge barometer for us with him and where he’s at… We just think there’s a different path for him to maximize the days he has in the summer.”
Pokusevski heads into his sophomore campaign with a bevy of question marks, but also potential. The 19-year-old began his rookie campaign frigid from the floor, but after a G-League Bubble breakthrough, Pokusevski ended the year averaging 8.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 24.2 minutes per contest. In his 45-game season, Pokusevski glistened in spurts becoming the youngest player in franchise history to record a double-double in addition to becoming the youngest player in NBA to go 7-of-7 from three in a game.
Had Pokusevski been participating with the Thunder’s Summer League roster, it was to expected he’d be a focal point in the team’s structure.
Instead of Pokusevski leading the troops, sophomore Theo Maledon is expected to carry the torch as Presti noted that he’ll be active throughout the Summer League.
The Las Vegas Summer League will run through August 8-17 at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.