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How Jeremiah Robinson-Earl Fits in With the Thunder in 2021

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, the 32nd pick in the 2021 NBA draft,  could find some real minutes for the Oklahoma Thunder in 2021. He just may need to play a different position.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was one of the few standouts in what was generally a disappointing Summer League for the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Josh Giddey and Tre Mann were present for a blink, and Thunder fans were left wondering what they could look forward to in Vegas. 

Robinson-Earl decided he would answer that question himself. If you asked yourself what type of player the Thunder are looking for in 2021, you’d find many of those characteristics in Robinson-Earl. The Villanova alum exhibited savvy pick-and-roll navigation, natural passing ability and a clear ease in the way that he plays the game.

At 6-foot-9, Robinson-Earl generally played forward at Villanova. He has the finishing ability needed from the position, but could struggle keeping up with faster wings in the NBA. Fortunately, the way that he carried himself in the paint in Vegas is an indication that his size could translate upwards a position as a small-ball center in OKC. 

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Playing time could be hard to come by this season if Robinson-Earl can only play forward, but if Robinson-Earl could be considered a five in the NBA, Derrick Favors is the only true center the Thunder have on their roster right now. OKC will surely play Isaiah Roby and Mike Muscala there at times, but it could be a place for him to find a crack in the rotation. 

If Robinson-Earl finds himself bouncing between the Oklahoma City Blue and Thunder roster this season, they’re both conveniently playing games at the Paycom Center. That would be an easy move for him to get guaranteed playing time and confidence. 

If you were a fan of Nick Collison’s consistent brand of basketball, you may only need to spin around a couple of times and squint your eyes to see some of that same basketball DNA in Robinson-Earl. Fan’s will quickly notice he’s a high character guy too, just like Mr. Thunder. Maybe even the pregame handshake-and-stare ritual can return someday. 

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