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Thunder Spotlight: Breakout Season Incoming for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl?

The pieces are falling in place for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to break out.
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After being selected early in the second-round of the 2021 NBA Draft, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was one of the most underrated players in his class last season.

The 21-year-old produced 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 35.2% from deep. Although he wasn’t a first-round pick, Robinson-Earl ended up being one of Oklahoma City’s most consistent players despite being a rookie. He ended up starting in 36 of the 49 contests he played in and was a primary starter for over two months in the middle part of the 2021-22 campaign.

Through one season, Robinson-Earl ranks top-25 in total minutes and points among his class, while also sitting top-ten in total rebounds.

Entering his second NBA season, the opportunity will be extremely high for Robinson-Earl, with the stage being set for a breakout year. There’s several reasons he’s projected to take a significant leap this season.

For starters, Robinson-Earl now has a ton of experience under his belt at the NBA level. He’s already emerging as a leader on the team, which showed in Summer League a few months back. During his showing with the summer squad, he looked extremely comfortable, clearly being one of the best players on the floor at all times. The 6-foot-9 forward is fundamentally sound and plays wells beyond his years.

The level of comfort and improvement for the second-year forward shouldn’t be surprising given his pedigree. The former five-star recruit out of IMG Academy has experience playing against top-level competition. He was also coached in one of the best systems in college basketball during his two season at Villanova. Simply put, a solid foundation has been laid for a while now.

There was already a good chance Robinson-Earl was going to start this season even with Chet Holmgren in the lineup, but now that he’s out for the year there’s an even higher probability. The Thunder have a ton of frontcourt minutes open, many of which should go to Robinson-Earl. He’s got the size and skillset to play center or power forward, further maximizing the time he’ll be on the court.

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The former second rounder truly does everything on the court, impacting winning without needing to have the ball in his hands or be a volume shooter. He’s strong but agile, and always is solid on both ends of the court.

After this season, there’s a real chance Robinson-Earl begins to look like a steal relative to where he was selected in the draft.

What could his numbers look like in the 2022-23 season?

Projection: 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest while shooting 37.1% from beyond the arc.

Only time will tell, but everything is coming together for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl breaking out this season.

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