2022-23 Thunder player grades: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

The 2022-23 Oklahoma City Thunder’s season ended with the play-in tournament loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which means it’s time for reflection.

Being one of the biggest overachievers in the league, the Thunder finished with a 40-42 record after being predicted by many to have high lottery odds.

Now that the season is in the books, let’s go back and evaluate all 19 players who suited up for the Thunder this past season. Grades will be handed out to every player in terms of what their expectations were heading into the season and how they lived up to them.

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The 12th player in this installment is Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, whose sophomore season was harpooned with an ankle sprain that cost him two months and essentially hampered his play in his return.

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(Editor’s note: We are starting individual grades for all players from the 2022-23 Oklahoma City Thunder. To access other reviews as part of this ongoing series, click here.)

2022-23 statisics:

  • 6.8 points

  • 4.2 rebounds

  • 1 assist

  • 44.4% shooting

  • 33.3% 3-point shooting

  • 83.3% free-throw shooting

Advanced stats:

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  • True-shooting percentage: 54.8%

  • Usage rate: 14.6%

  • Win shares: 1.9

  • 3-point attempt rate: 44.8%

Significant Percentile Finishes:

  • Transition scorer: 85 percentile

  • Spot up: 44 percentile

  • Cutter: 56.3 percentile

Contract:

  • 2023-24: $1.9 million (non-guaranteed)

  • 2024-25: $2 million (team option)

Thoughts:

Injuries were a major theme for several second-year and third-year players on the Thunder roster this past season. Robinson-Earl is another example of this. His second season can be perfectly split into two halves: before his serious ankle sprain and after it.

Robinson-Earl suffered an ankle sprain in mid-December that cost him two months of the season. By the time he returned, he was essentially out of the rotation for the final couple of months of the season.

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This is unfortunate because he was playing really well to start the season off — in his first 26 games, which included 18 starts, he averaged 8.5 points and five rebounds while shooting 38.2% from 3 on 2.9 attempts.

After his two-month absence, Robinson-Earl was held to 4.2 points and three rebounds while shooting an ugly 22.9% from 3 on 2.1 attempts in 17 minutes. It was evident he was no longer in the rotation as he had several games where he was either a DNP or played single-digit minutes.

By the time Robinson-Earl returned, the Thunder were in the midst of a playoff race. Because of this, there’s a decent chance he didn’t get the same playing opportunities as he would’ve in previous seasons.

The 22-year-old lost his shooting touch in his absence, which makes it difficult to keep him on the floor as that is his one true offensive weapon. Without his outside shot, Robinson-Earl became a liability on offense and looked slow on defense as he continued to work his way back from injury.

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The shooting efficiency was just bad for Robinson-Earl this season — there’s no other way around it. Just looking at his Cleaning The Glass shooting accuracy page, it’s filled with almost all blue, which means he was one of the worst shooting bigs in the league this past season.

His rim finishing was in the 5th percentile. His midrange shooting was in the 35th percentile. His corner 3-point shooting was in the 24th percentile. His overall 3-point shooting was in the 34th percentile.

Not good.

If he can’t significantly improve in these areas, it’s hard to see Robinson-Earl being a long-term fit with the Thunder.

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Moving Forward:

As was the case with fellow second-year player Tre Mann, it was a rough year for Robinson-Earl. There’s no way around it, he was unplayable his last few months of the season — but I think that’s more because of bad luck than him suddenly forgetting how to play.

After a tremendous start that saw him be one of OKC’s best 3-point shooters and essentially a pseudo-starter, he lost his touch following a lengthy two-month absence from an ankle sprain that ruined his sophomore season.

It was evident by watching Robinson-Earl play after his return that he needed extra time to get comfortable on the court, which likely explains his deterioration as an offensive threat and how slow he looked on defense.

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The good news for Robinson-Earl is that he’ll have an entire offseason to return to his early season form, which was one of the best spacing bigs on the Thunder. If he can return to shooting at a similar clip as he did to start the season, then there is optimism in him carving out a nice career as a rotation wing/big.

We’ve known this since he was drafted, but Robinson-Earl’s ceiling is likely a rotation wing/big who can spot start when needed. I believe the 3-point shooting is legit —  he shot 83.3% from the free-throw line, which is a better barometer to use to measure his outside shooting that the raw percentage — and that he just had a rough return from a significant ankle sprain. While he lacks size, he’s shown enough defensive chops to overcome that.

Just like it’ll be the case for every non-blue chip player on the roster, Robinson-Earl will enter training camp fighting for consistent minutes — especially once OKC adds another wave of rookies. It’ll be important to start off the season with a bang or he could be lost in the shuffle in his third season, which could spell doom for his Thunder tenure.

Final Grade: D-

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire