The development of Thunder rookie Tre Mann has been an encouraging storyline for fans to follow over the last few weeks.
Mann was drafted with the 18th pick in the 2021 draft. Out of Florida, Mann had a reputation for being an elite scorer. As a sophomore, he averaged 16 points per game and managed to shoot over 40 percent from deep.
Mann was able to display his offensive skill set early on for the Thunder, as he played for OKC’s summer league team. While he did not shoot at a high clip, he showed his potential, as he constantly created space to get his jump shot off. It was clear from the start that he was comfortable with the ball in his hands and in a scoring role.
At the beginning of the season, the shooting struggles were still evident, but he was passing the eye test. Mann had many highlight moments on the floor.
The rookie guard has been given the opportunity to spend time in the G League playing for the OKC Blue, which has helped him gain the confidence he needed to really start making an impact. Mann recently had a 30-point game with the Blue, where he shot nearly 71 percent.
After a hot stretch in the G League, Mann returned to the Thunder where he has scored double digits in three-straight games. His potential as a microwave scorer, whether off the bench or as a starter, has started to intrigue many Thunder fans.
The offensive talent is there. On top of being a fantastic shot creator, Mann is also a solid ball handler too. In the last few weeks, when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey have both missed time due to injury, Mann has had to do a lot more with the ball in his hands.
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Against Houston, he recorded his season-high of 17 points and also displayed another potential element of his game, as he went 6-6 from the free-throw line. For being just a rookie, the 6-foot-5 guard's body control and finesse around the rim is spectacular.
One impressive part of Tre Mann’s game that has grown even since college is his ability to operate the pick-and-roll. We’ve seen it often these past three games, as he’s a crafty dribbler and has a nice floater too. He’s also shown flashes of his passing ability finding the roll man with ease.
While it's easy for Thunder fans to be excited about the offensive promise that Tre Mann shows, it's important to remember to be patient with a player like him. High volume shooters take time to adjust to the NBA, and it may take a while for Mann to fully settle in and find his groove.
So far this season, Mann has displayed flashes of what Thunder GM Sam Presti was clearly excited about when he drafted him. For the young guard to really take the next step, he's also going to have to improve on the defensive end.
Mann has the size and potential to be successful on that end of the floor, too, but it's going to take time. The most important thing defensively will be getting stronger and just repetition. His length and athleticism allow him to block shots and get in passing lanes.
Mann has loads of potential and Thunder fans should be very excited about his future. If he can be consistent, he's going to be a special player.