2021-22 Thunder player grades: Zavier Simpson

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(Editor’s note: We are starting individual grades for all players from the 2021-22 Oklahoma City Thunder. To access other reviews as part of this ongoing series, click here.)

With the 2021-22 regular season now officially in the books, the Oklahoma City Thunder (24-58) finished their season with the fourth-best lottery odds. This means it is now time for individual player grades for all 26 players who suited up for the team this season during the 82 games. The grades will be determined by what the season expectations were for each player and how they lived up to them.

The twenty-third player in the installment is Zavier Simpson, who made his NBA debut in April and played in four games.

2021-22 statistics

11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists on 36.5 percent shooting and 12.5 percent three-point shooting in four games.

Significant Advanced Statistics

Assist percentage: 25.2 percent

Drives: 20.5 per game

Contract

2021-22: $37,223

Thoughts

After spending the last couple of seasons in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue, Zavier Simpson was finally able to make his NBA debut in April and play the final four games of the season.

Much like baseball where teams call up minor league veterans when rosters expand in September, this was more of a reward for Simpson for spending the last couple of seasons with the Blue. The Thunder were dealing with a ton of injuries and needed more bodies so that they avoided taxing their healthy guys too much. Simpson was one of several 10-day deal guys who joined the Thunder to finish out the season.

Simpson didn’t really do much in his four games as he averaged nearly 44 minutes per night. Simpson was able to score but was inefficient with his shots. Simpson does deserve credit for his insane assist numbers he racked up in his four games; for whatever reason, he always was able to collect high assist numbers despite not having the most talented teammates. The most noteworthy thing about Simpson’s short tenure with the team is that his signature hook shot received a larger platform and become sort of a cult icon shot.

Simpson — also known as Captain Hook — was able to beautifully display his hook shot at the NBA level and would trend during games whenever he attempted one. It was a fun moment in an otherwise dull final weeks of the season in terms of watching the actual games.

Final Grade

It’s really hard to be harsh on Simpson for his poor four games with the Thunder. Simpson probably doesn’t have a shot at having an NBA career, so this was a bone thrown at him by the Thunder for all the hard work he’s done the last couple of seasons at the G League.

It’s really hard to take anything away from these four games as the competition was also phoning it in as it was the part of the season where teams were sitting their regular guys in order to prepare for the playoffs or improve their lottery odds.

In terms of entertainment value, Simpson was great and made unwatchable games a little watchable due to his unorthodox hook shot that he would attempt regularly. Simpson might not have a future in the NBA, but at least he was able to get some games in and a decent paycheck.

Final Grade: D

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