Aleksej Pokusevski might start feeling the pressure this season.
The Thunder are approaching the point in their rebuild where the roster is filling up and the time to give players to pan out in a project is getting shorter.
Both apply to Pokusevski.
When he was drafted, it was clear he was a project, he has high potential, but needed a lot of work and heading into 2022-23 Pokusevski’s potential is still being worked on.
He is only 20-years-old and already entering his third NBA season, which is important to remember, but it doesn’t take away from his roller-coaster career to this point.
He has the chance to shine this season and earn a spot for at least the next couple of seasons with good performance this season.
With Chet Holmgren injured Pokusevski’s role grew exponentially from what it would’ve been with Holmgren in the lineup. This gives Poku the chance to show he is continuing to develop.
However, Pokusevski may need to take a bigger leap this season than he has in previous years with roster pressure mounting around him.
It’s unlikely Pokusevski will be a member of any other team in the short term, but to maintain a productive role he’ll need to show he’s growing as he was predicted.
Last season, in a slightly diminished role from his rookie campaign, he averaged 7.6 points per game and 5.2 rebounds over 61 games played. He also showed flashes of brilliance at times over the course of the year, mostly when his role grew as injuries mounted around him.
Poku’s size and build makes him a valuable piece to this season's OKC team who is thin on size, especially in the paint. Pokusevski can also play on the perimeter and help OKC spread the floor.
Poku has what it takes to be a consistent piece to the Thunder as they push forward, he just has to show it, and this is the season for him to do it.
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