Oklahoma City’s Gabriel Deck snagged the loose ball, rose up, and smoothly transitioned it behind his back for an assist to Isaiah Roby.
It was the play of the night for Deck, who made his NBA debut Thursday night.
“He’s come in and done exactly what we’ve ask him to do and made a good first impression,” Head coach Mark Daigneault said of Deck after the game.
The 6-foot-6 Argentinian forward scored just two points on 1-for-5 shooting, but snagged two rebounds and dished out two assists in 15 minutes of play.
The stat line certainly wasn’t flashy, but the play was.
His lone bucket of the night came on a contested runner. With All-Star forward Zion Williamson draped around him, Deck created some separation and used the glass to bank the shot in.
Defensively, Deck matched up with Williamson for most of his minutes Thursday. It was an ultimate “thrown into the fire” scenario, as Williamson has averaged 26.8 points and 7.1 rebounds this season as one of the NBA’s most physically dominant players.
Deck held Williamson to 2-for-5 shooting in 3:53 minutes of play. Albeit a small sample size, Deck at least held his own in his first NBA minutes.
“Pretty impressive,” Daigneault said of Deck’s defense. “I thought Baze was going pretty good, typically we look at matching his minutes, but Deck’s a big guy, he’s a tough guy. And, you know, if that was a problem we could’ve gone back with Baze, but he did a really good job on him.”
The potential is there for Deck. An NBA debut with contested makes, flashy assists and decent defense on a dominant All-Star are all positives. Shooting will come later.
“He knows how to play, he tried to go out there and fit into what we were doing, obviously he hasn’t had a lot of time. We have a practice tomorrow which I think will be really beneficial for him.”