Thunder rookie’s Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski have had very different seasons, but both are exceeding expectations in year one.
Maledon has had tangible success.
At 19-years-old, the former European pro is averaging 9.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his first season with the Thunder.
Drafted at No. 34 overall, Maledon has performed well above where he was originally selected.
Amongst rookie’s, Maledon ranks ninth in points, eighth in three-pointers made, 21st in rebounds and fifth in assists per game.
“Theo’s a point guard 100% but his shooting allows him to play off the ball and it helps the versatility of the team,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said earlier in the season. “He’s got great poise. He’s wise beyond his years. We want to make sure to discover where his ceiling is as a player.”
Pokusevski, while not offering results that would make contending teams happy, has been a great success thus far for Oklahoma City.
The 7-foot Serbian ranks 16th amongst rookies in points at 7.5 per game, and ninth in rebounds at 4.6 per game.
The kicker for Pokusevski are his shooting percentages, which are less than adequate. He’s shot just 32 percent from the floor and 26 percent from three, despite a better stretch of play following the G-League bubble.
The bright spots for “Poku” lie within the intangibles — a seven-footer with guard like handles, able to mix his length with his above average passing skill.
Pokusevski has exceeded expectations in the face that he’s held his own in the NBA so far, which didn’t seem like a given on draft night.
“Finding my pace on offense and still playing hard,” Pokusevski said of his play after returning from the G-League bubble. “Competing in every game and just finding my pace with the ball on the offensive end. Just getting more comfortable with the ball and learning the pace of the game in America.”