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Thunder's Aleksej Pokusevki Will Not Play In NBA Summer League

When the Thunder head to Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, Aleksej Pokusevski will not be a part of the team.

With four new rookies on the roster after Thursday's draft, the OKC Thunder's summer league roster should be fun to watch. Alongside those four rookies, the Thunder will bring in additional talent to evaluate. 

In a post-draft press conference with the media, Thunder GM Sam Presti was asked about whether second-year players Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon would be joining the team.

While Presti confirmed that Maledon is set to be a part of the team and earn much-needed reps, the plan is for Pokusevski to take a different developmental track this summer. 

This was an interesting decision, as rookies last season didn't have the chance to play in a summer league setting due to the pandemic.

Presti mentioned that Pokusevski has had a great summer thus far and the team feels he can improve at a higher rate on a personalized plan the remainder of the offseason in Oklahoma City rather than getting the in-game experience of summer league.

"Every single player has a different development process and plan," Presti told SI Thunder. "We just think there's a different path for him to maximize the days he has in the summer."

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Last season as a rookie, Pokusevski was able to start in 28 games and averaged 8.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. While he didn't shoot great from beyond the arc at 28.0 percent, the 7-footer showed improvement as the season went on.

For a player like Pokusevski, getting his body right for the physicality of the NBA should be the top priority. If he's able to add weight to his frame and continue to fine-tune his 3-point shot, a few missed summer league reps aren't something the Thunder should be worried about.