Bleacher Report reviews Thunder rookies Theo Maledon, Aleksej Pokusevski

Logan Newman
·2 min read

Early in the 2019-20 season, some analysts and scouts viewed Theo Maledon as a potential lottery pick.

As the season progressed, interest waned in the ASVEL guard. Whether it be because Maledon didn’t produce at the level they hoped, his shoulder injury greatly impacted his stock, or, as team owner and former NBA star Tony Parker asserted, the coach put him in a poor position, Maledon dropped all the way out of the first round.

The Oklahoma City received his rights with the No. 34 pick from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the Al Horford-Danny Green trade.

So far, he has looked like a good inclusion in the deal.

Bleacher Report thinks Maledon has been solid this season, grading him as a B- overall. Analyst Jonathan Wasserman wrote:

“His versatility has been useful, and he’s shown poise and passing IQ running pick-and-rolls and threatening defenses as a spot-up shooter.

“Lacking quickness and explosion, key reasons teams were hesitant about his NBA outlook, Maledon has found ways to score on drives with touch and body control. And he’s flashed the ability to make jumpers off the dribble.”

Through 14 games, he is averaging 6.3 points, 2.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He hasn’t been shooting well, though, hitting just 37.4% of shots from the field and 30.6% from deep.

“He hasn’t executed with efficiency in any one area yet. But this early, it’s just good to see his capabilities.”

Wasserman was less enthusiastic about rookie Aleksej Pokusevski. The 19-year-old was the only player on the list to receive a D rating.

“Pokusevski’s highlights are eye-catching, and there is still exciting upside tied to his dribble-shoot-pass skill set for a 7-footer. But he’s only making 26.9 percent of his field-goal attempts with a 21.2 turnover percentage.”

Pokusevski has played far better in his last seven games than his first five, but the numbers aren’t impressive by any means.

“The NBA’s youngest player doesn’t look ready for the early reps.”

Luckily for the Thunder, they’re not looking for winning NBA basketball out of Pokusevski just yet. They’re trying to train him up for the long-term.