This year will be significant for many guys because Oklahoma City appears doomed to a roster catastrophe.
This summer, Alexei Pokusevski has been quietly working. He had a brief appearance for the Oklahoma City summer league team before remaining mostly silent. To continue his rigorous training regimen, the Thunder decided to exclude Poku from competing for the Serbian national team.
In an offseason run full of NBA talent or a high-profile Pro-Am game, he wasn’t the best find. However, the few off-season videos of Pokusevski that have surfaced are nothing short of amazing.
To secure a spot on Oklahoma City’s regular roster for the upcoming season, he must perform exactly as he does in that video.
Pokusevski’s potential is undoubtedly rooted in his guard-like abilities at 7 feet tall, but his ceiling is raised even more by his NBA 3-point shooting prowess, which is beyond average.
In his brief two-year career
The Serb has not noticed any improvement in his long-distance jumper. In his first and second seasons, he stayed around 28%, but last season, he was aware of what was expected of him. He took more shots overall, but he had trouble maintaining consistency.
While Pokusevski’s youth should be noted, Oklahoma City will soon face a difficult selection problem. It was uncertain whether Pokusevski would make the rotation before Chet Holmgren’s injury. The Thunder now needs assistance from several sources, and Poku will likely have another opportunity to play for a longer period.
Time to impress
Although there is no cure for Holmgren’s severe injury, Pokusevski still has a year to try to win over the team. Nothing more glaring than his year-end extension from the previous season demonstrated his flashes. Throughout his last 17 games, Pokusevski averaged 12.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 29 minutes. Although it’s a small sample, there is still cause for optimism over his additional playing time.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will probably be willing to keep the Poku project going if he can establish himself as an average 3-point shooter this season. His ability to make long-range shots consistently could influence both his immediate prospects and the course of his NBA career.
A player like Pokusevski will be able to stay in the league for many years if he develops into a consistent outside shooter.