Aleksej Pokusevski is unanimously and unabashedly the most polarizing player in the NBA.
That was on full display on Thursday night, as the second-year forward poured on 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes off the bench in the Thunder’s preseason finale. Pokusevski shot 9-for-16 from the field, hitting four of his nine attempted 3-pointers.
But it wasn’t just the stats that were there for Poku. He passed the eye test as well.
Confidence was visible in the Serbian 7-footer, who sliced, dashed and dazzled across the floor.
But Pokusevski isn’t without his off nights.
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On Wednesday night, again against the Nuggets, Pokusevski struggled, scoring just two points in 20 minutes played. He finished 1-for-7 from the field, 0-for-3 from 3-point land. He did grab five rebounds and block two shots.
Oklahoma City has seen its fair share of polarizing players pass through: Terrance Ferguson, Mitch McGary and even Darius Bazley all come to mind. But Pokusevski trumps them all.
His rookie year saw a tumultuous start before a brief stint in the G-League that helped him tremendously. Pokusevski finished the year stronger, including a penultimate finished that hurt OKC's draft odds.
There’s plenty of time for Pokusevski to continue growing and get more comfortable with his role in the league. At just 19-years-old, the project that is ‘Poku’ more than likely won’t see its end for two more years, no matter the result.
The highs are high and the lows are low for Pokusevski, and the incoming season will see plenty of each.
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