In their season finale, the Oklahoma City Thunder came out on top. In just their third win since the trade deadline, the Thunder had quite a few players step up to pull out the win.
While the win certainly does hurt OKC's draft lottery odds, they still have an excellent chance at selecting at least two guys who will be crucial long-term pieces. The Thunder will officially finish the season in a tie for the fourth-best lottery odds.
On Sunday night, Josh Hall had the best game of his young NBA career. A 20-year-old rookie who played the 2020-21 season on a two-way contract, Hall came into the season finale with a career-high of ten points.
However, he finished the season with an outstanding 25 points to go along with ten rebounds and two assists. Hall spent a good portion of the season injured, really hindering what he was able to show in his rookie season. He played in just 21 games for the Thunder on the year.
"I give Josh a lot of credit," said Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault. "He's had a tough year."
With a full offseason to work on his game, Hall will have the opportunity to further develop his game. Going straight from high school to the NBA, he had an extremely hard jump to make in his rookie year.
Moses Brown dominated the paint on Sunday night, taking advantage of a thin Clippers front-court. He finished the night with 24 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks. For someone who started the season on a two-way deal and earned a full-time NBA contract with his high level of performance, this game was a testament to why the Thunder front office felt comfortable converting him.
Isaiah Roby totaled ten points and five board while Tony Bradley finished with eight points and seven rebounds for OKC.
For the Clippers, Terance Mann led the team with 19 points, followed by Yogi Ferrell and Jay Scrubb with 14 points each.
Rookie Aleksej Pokusevski was without a doubt the best player on the floor for either team all night. The 19-year-old finished his rookie season with a 29-point performance to go along with eight rebounds. He converted on six of his nine 3-point attempts and showed his ability to do a little bit of everything.
What was most impressive about his final game of the season was how well he handled running point guard. Before the game, Daigneault mentioned that the 7-footer would be running the offense quite a bit, which went pretty well.
“I was pretty impressed with his ability to get us organized,” said Daigneault.
Although he had seven turnovers, what he was able to do at his size was unprecedented.
Pokusevski mentioned postgame that this wasn't anything new for him, as he played point guard quite a bit growing up. However, it was his first time doing it for extended minutes in the NBA.
“I felt great," said Pokusevski. "I felt comfortable. It’s not something new for me, but in the NBA it is.”
Both Daigneault and Pokusevski talked after the game about how important this offseason is for him, starting with his body. At under 200 pounds, gaining some mass will help in the paint on drives, on defense and even when it comes to staying healthy.
Now that the season is over, the Thunder will pivot towards the offseason where they'll have great draft lottery odds and plenty of money to spend in free agency. For a rebuilding team with a bright future, this summer will be pivotal as Thunder GM Sam Presti looks to expedite the process of once again building a contender.