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Looking Back on Oklahoma City's Preseason Slate

A couple of Thunder players stood out amidst OKC's underwhelming preseason performances.

The Oklahoma City Thunder closed out their preseason slate with an overtime loss on Thursday, finishing 1-3 across the preseason.

And while nobody is under any illusions of what this Thunder team is going to be in 2021, it was still a firm reminder that Oklahoma City totes the youngest roster in the NBA, and there will be plenty of learning moments as the Thunder take their lumps this season.

But there were still plenty of positives from the preseason outside of the games not counting.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, fresh off of agreeing to a contract extension this summer, returned to the hardwood in a Thunder uniform and he looked as crisp as ever.

The point guard appeared in three preseason games, averaging 10.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in limited action.

Defenses threw plenty of new looks at Gilgeous-Alexander all preseason long, an adjustment he’ll have to make as the season unfolds.

Lu Dort also had a great preseason, continuing his impressive shooting stroke from deep.

The Canadian knocked down 62.5 percent of his 3-pointers throughout preseason play, averaging 14.7 points per game.

Dort was the beneficiary of the passing ability of both Gilgeous-Alexander and rookie Josh Giddey, as the two jumbo guards spaced the floor and found the defensive stopper for plenty of open looks within the flow of the offense. The defensive stopper could take another step forward on the offensive end of the floor this season, as he did most of his damage last year while defenses did not have to worry about the threat of Gilgeous-Alexander.

Speaking of Giddey, he displayed why general manager Sam Presti fell in love with his passing ability.

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The Australian totaled 5.0 assists per contest, all while being a threat on the boards pulling down 7.0 rebounds per game, and a nice offensive threat getting to the rim.

Giddey has done a good job taking care of the basketball as well as he adjusts to the speed of the NBA and how quickly those passing windows can close, but he almost notched a triple-double in his final preseason game, a great sign of things to come from Giddey.

Fellow rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl also had a nice preseason, continuing his steady performances from Summer League. Though undersized, Robinson-Earl continued to show he has a great feel for the game, getting himself in a good position defensively while also developing his 3-point shooting game on the other end of the floor.

Aleksej Pokusevski finally came alive in the final preseason game, coming off the bench against the Denver Nuggets in a game where many starters on both sides had already been given the night off.

The Serbian’s performance in the preseason finale covered up what had been a disappointing four games for the second-year big.

Pokusevski shot just 36.6 percent from the field, including 26.1 percent from 3-point range, scoring only 9.2 points per game.

Still incredibly young, Pokusevski was always going to be a long-term developmental project, but hopefully for the Thunder he can carry his momentum from the preseason finale into the regular season.

The Thunder will now have a few days off to prepare for the regular season, as they’ll open things up for real on Oct. 20 on the road against the Utah Jazz. 


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