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Beyond the Box Score: Aleksej Pokusevski’s Shooting Optimism

One of the most promising young prospects on the OKC Thunder is Aleksej Pokusevski, but he’ll need to improve upon his shooting.
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There’s not many 19-year-old prospects across the NBA that have the upside of the Thunder's Aleksej Pokusevski. As a 7-footer with guard skills, he truly could become a special player at the NBA level.

To reach his ceiling, he’ll need to improve upon his 3-point shooting efficiency. To become a floor-spacing 7-footer, defenses will have to respect his range and ability to score the ball. To become the player Oklahoma City thinks he can be, the shooting has to be there.

Last season as a rookie, Pokusevski got off to an extremely rough start as a shooter. During the month of December through four games to start the season, he shot 6.7 percent from beyond the arc on 3.8 attempts per contest.

From there, things got better but still not great as Pokusevski shot 23.8 percent from deep in 13 games between January and February.

Luckily for the Serbian rookie, something clicked in the month of March. Through ten games, he shot 29.1 percent from three. While this still isn’t anywhere near where he wants to be long-term, it was a step in the right direction. In the final month of the season, Pokusevski converted on 30.1 percent of his 3-point attempts, ending the season on the highest note in April.

In a tale of two halves, Pokusevski shot 17.9 percent from deep before the NBA All-Star break and 31.8 percent after.

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This is a great sign, as Pokusevski gained confidence and improved as the season went on. With an entire offseason to work on his shot, the hope is that he’ll only be better as a second-year player at 19.

In terms of overall field goal percentage on all shots from the floor, Pokusevski saw improvement month-over-month as the season went on as well. In general, his shooting just continued to improve.

If he’s able to raise these percentages more in the upcoming season as his role increases, Pokusevski will be on track to becoming the All-Star type of player the Thunder think he can be.


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