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Thunder Keep Aleksej Pokusevski From EuroBasket and Team Serbia

The Thunder have opted to utilize some extra training time with a polarizing prospect.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a reputation for being very particular about their current players’ summer program’s.

Last season, the Thunder opted to have Aleksej Pokusevski sit out of the summer league in efforts to add weight and muscle to the point-forward. It was a big off-season of growth, but it wasn’t extremely noticeable on the floor until the end of the season.

After getting some run in this year’s summer league with Chet Holmgren and Josh Giddey, Pokusevski has a chance to build early chemistry and prove he can be a consistent contributor.

With FIBA basketball taking place this summer, many NBA fans are seeing highlights of their favorite players in overseas action. For Pokusevski and Thunder fans, it sounds like that dream will have to wait, as he will not be suiting up for Serbia.

Along with Pokusevski, Miami Heat rookie Nikola Jovic will also be a scratch for the Serbians.

“For Pokusevski and Jovic, we did not get permission from their teams,” the senior national team selector revealed in an article from EuroHoops.net. “The teams want the players to work there and get ready for the new season.”

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After two seasons of development, Pokusevski’s future in Oklahoma City is starting to look interesting. The Thunder just drafted Ousmane Dieng in the lottery, who has a very similar skill set and could be a nice rotational piece. It could be time for Poku to feel the pressure.

I would assume Oklahoma City opting to hang onto Pokusevski this summer is a good sign for his future with the team, though. The Thunder as an organization clearly feel good enough about Poku’s development to extend it a few more months before the start of the season. 

While he could benefit from game experience overseas, he’s had an unusual amount of game experience for a player of his caliber this early in his career. Working on his skills and creating consistency is more important at this point in his career.

While it would’ve been fun to follow Poku-mania on Team Serbia, both Pokusevski and the Thunder could benefit from his extra time at the facility.


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