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OKC exercises the third-year option for Aleksej Pokuševski
Oct 28, 2021, 3:54:00 AM

OKC exercises the third-year option for Aleksej Pokuševski

The Oklahoma City Thunder has secured the rights of Aleksej Pokuševski through the 2022-23 season. This is a strong move towards the future for OKC because Poku has the potential to become a solid player, especially on the offensive end.

Poku was not the only player whose contract was picked up. Alongside Poku, Daris Bazley, and Ty Jerome’s options have all been picked up. Both Poku and Bazley have top-level potential which is why this is a strong move by the Thunder. Poku, in particular, is a unique talent because he is a lanky seven-footer but he primarily plays as a playmaking forward.

All three players fill out roles in the OKC squad. While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is their primary star, they need supporting players in their squad. All three players are solid complementary pieces alongside SGA. Rookie Josh Giddey is also a potential star for the team that can play alongside SGA in the backcourt.

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Thunder general manager Sam Presti has stockpiled draft picks over the next few years but he has found some diamonds in the rough. Both Poku and Bazley were mid to late first-round picks but Presti managed to make it work. If Presti and the rest of the front office can build around their current players with future draft picks, they will be an awesome team.

While Poku has not received much playing time recently under coach Mark Daigneault, OKC is committed to helping the Serbian acclimate better to the NBA. He is only 20 years of age which is why Mark is willing to put him on the bench for long periods.

He said, ‘He got a lot of minutes last year, and now he’s gotta learn how to be efficient in the minutes he gets, which is an NBA skill for anybody. I think he’s trying to do that. He’s tracking forward right now’.

OKC will have to develop their players and Poku should be one of their highest priorities. Giddey, SGA, and Lu Dort will be the top choices but Poku has the potential to become an elite forward. He may not reach the same level as his fellow Serbian, Nikola Jokić but the youngster has so much time to work with.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: PA