Thunder rookie Theo Maledon was full of surprises in his debut season.
At 19-year-old, Maledon was one of the youngest players in the league, but played with veteran-like poise. The French product was a bit of a mystery pre-draft, having professional experience and being heralded by Spurs legend Tony Parker.
Here is SI Thunder's end of season grades for Maledon:
Ryan Chapman's Grade: B+
Coming in as the No. 34-overall pick, even Theo Maledon probably didn’t expect how much playing time he would truly get in his rookie season.
Stepping in for the injured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Frenchman was given plenty of license to make mistakes and learn as the maestro of the Thunder offense.
Still, Maledon had a positive assist to turnover ratio, and flashed the ability to play-make for his teammates in bunches.
Mark Daigneault and the Thunder will want him to shoot the ball a little bit better, only making 36.8 percent of his field goals and knocking down just 33.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, but he’ll have plenty of years ahead to continue to hone his craft.
The most important thing Maledon put on tape was his high basketball IQ, giving everyone faith that he’ll be able to continue to develop into a key member of the Oklahoma City bench.
He’ll be able to use the experiences of being put in uncomfortable situations in his rookie year to come back an even better point guard in 2021-22.
Derek Parker's Grade: B
Drafted No. 34 overall in last year’s draft, the bar was already low for Theo Maledon.
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The 19-year-old rookie quickly raised it.
With professional seasons already under his belt, Maledon was impressive in his NBA season. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
He ranked twelfth in points per game and seventh in assists per game amongst rookies. It’s safe to say he played well above his preseason projection.
Perhaps Maledon’s most impressive attribute this season was his ability to seamlessly translate to the league. He was Oklahoma City’s top minute-getter this season, an impressive feat for a 19-year-old.
Maledon finished 90th overall in minutes played, more than plenty of league starters.
Nick Crain's Grade: B+
Theo Maledon made a case that as one of the top-ten rookies in the entire NBA this season. In fact, he was seventh in total points and fourth in total assists among first year players.
Furthermore, he was one of the best players on the entire Thunder roster all season. He led the team in total minutes played, showing his durability. He also stepped up early in the season, becoming a starter in 49 games down the stretch for OKC.
When it comes to season totals, Maledon was first points and steals, second in made threes, fourth in points and sixth in rebounds. This is extremely impressive for a 19-year-old rookie who was taken in the second round. He was tasked with more than most rookies around the league and got a ton of on-court experience as he looks to become a key piece on the team down the road when the Thunder contend once again.
Being selected No. 34 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, Theo Maledon exceeded all expectations. While he certainly has plenty of things to work on, his rookie season was a huge success as he looked like a steal in his class.