Future Watch: Aleksej Pokusevski Basketball Cards, Oklahoma City Thunder

Future Watch: Aleksej Pokusevski Basketball Cards, Oklahoma City ThunderPokusevski is a developmental player on a developmental team, but both the youngest player in the league and his squad have shown tangible signs of progress this season. Pokusevski, who will not turn 20 until December 26, is used to earning opportunities beyond his years, having previously done so in Europe.

Having made a name for himself growing up in his native Serbia, Pokusevski became the youngest player in squad history for Olympiacos in the EuroLeague on March 19, 2019. Previously, Pokusevski competed for his country in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 World Cup and, subsequently, in the 2019 FIBA Under-18 World Championship.

With an intriguing offensive game borne of his guard skills like other tall Europeans before him, Pokusevski declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. Not expected to crack the lottery with value being based more on projections than actual output, Pokusevski nonetheless came close, landing in Oklahoma City with the 17th selection by way of a draft-day deal with Minnesota.

Consistent production was tough to come by in the early part of Pokusevski’s rookie season, so he was sent to the Thunder’s G League affiliate on February 3. Still, there were plenty of highlights for NBA Europe to use for a compilation video:

The chance to tune up his game against lighter competition proved to be just what Pokusevski needed, as he posted career highs in points (14) and rebounds (eight) in his March 11 return – which doubled as his first NBA start. Three nights later came a tantalizing glimpse of the future for Pokusevski and OKC: 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. In back-to-back outings (March 29 and April 2), Pokusevski tallied high –  21 and 20 points, respectively – proving that his game is progressing in direct proportion to the opportunities provided.

At seven feet tall but only 190 pounds, Pokusevski swings between the two forward spots based on matchups. Notwithstanding his slimness, Pokusevski already possesses some skills as a rim defender and he is able to utilize his size effectively on defense when he is in position. Pokusevski is proving that he can develop into a cornerstone for an Oklahoma City franchise looking to build around young talent for the next few seasons.

 

Future Watch: Aleksej Pokusevski Basketball Cards, Oklahoma City Thunder – Stats

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2020-21 19 OKC NBA PF 29 12 23.3 2.5 8.0 .315 1.1 4.2 .260 1.4 3.8 .376 .384 0.7 0.8 .826 0.7 3.9 4.7 2.0 0.5 1.0 1.7 1.0 6.8
Career NBA 29 12 23.3 2.5 8.0 .315 1.1 4.2 .260 1.4 3.8 .376 .384 0.7 0.8 .826 0.7 3.9 4.7 2.0 0.5 1.0 1.7 1.0 6.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/5/2021.

Future Watch: Aleksej Pokusevski Basketball Cards, Oklahoma City Thunder – Other Resources

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Rick Morris