The Oklahoma City Blue, the OKC Thunder G-League squad, will get their season underway on Thursday as they take on the Salt Lake City Stars. This is the first game of the season and their first game inside the G-League Bubble for the Blue. Tip-off is set for 10:30 CST on ESPN+.
The Blue roster got a lot more exciting when the Thunder assigned first-round pick Aleksej Pokusevski, former-first round pick Ty Jerome, two-way rising star Josh Hall, and two-way big man Moses Brown to the G-League Bubble. They are joined by 3 Blue draft picks from the earlier G-League Draft, Rob Edwards, Vincent Edwards, and Zavier Simpson.
The Blue also has a few interesting players who created some fan interested in NBA Training Camp. Most notably Omer Yurtseven, the seven-footer from Georgetown University surprisingly had a large fan club within the Thunder fanbase earlier this offseason.
Chasson Randle, Jaylen Hoard, and Antonius Cleveland all road the roster carousel in training camp so the Thunder could retain their G-League rights.
Vit Krejci, an interesting second-round pick from the 2020 NBA Draft, is listed on the Blue roster, but to clear up any confusion he is not in the G-League Bubble. Krejci is still rehabbing from a torn ACL and looks to be on track to play next season.
The Blue will play 15 games inside the G-League Bubble with a chance for more if they qualify for the G-League single-elimination postseason. It all starts this week with Thursday’s game against Salt Lake City, and Friday’s game against the G-League Ignite on ESPNU with tip-off set for 2 p.m. CST.
Why is the Ignite game so important? The G-League Ignite team plays host to multiple-first round picks in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Comparing the likes of Aleksej Pokusevski and Ty Jerome to those future-first-round talents will be fun on Friday.
Aleksej Pokusevski will have all eyes on him in the Bubble, which is why many of you might be taking the time to slip away from your workday to watch a 10 am G-League game on Thursday. Poku should find a ton of success against the G-League competition, but if he doesn’t there is still no need to panic.
Head Coach Grant Gibbs and the Blue will be able to not only give Aleksej Pokusevski more minutes than the Thunder but put him in a role better fit for his game, for example, you should expect to see Poku in more of a lead ball-handler role on Thursday morning and throughout this G-League season.
Getting Ty Jerome back on the floor and getting to see him within this organization for the first time will be fun as well.
Maybe I am just too much of a basketball nerd, but even beyond watching Aleksej Pokusevski play basketball again, I am most looking forward to Josh Hall, the undrafted two-way forward that skipped college and has some real talent. I have already written an entire article on how excited I am for Hall.
For this game against the Salt Lake City Stars, they come in on the second leg of a back-to-back after falling to the Erie Bayhawks on Wednesday. Jazz first-round pick Udoka Azubuike was stretched off the floor in this game for Salt Lake, here is hoping for a speedy recovery.
The Salt Lake City Stars got a big night from Yogi Ferrell the Indiana product who had a Jeremy Lin like run with the Dallas Mavericks a few seasons ago, went off for 22 points, dishing out six assists, and even grabbing three rebounds.
The player I am most interested to watch for the Stars in this game is Jordan Nwora, the Louisville product that I was extremely high on entering the 2020 NBA Draft was selected in the 2nd round with the 45th selection by the Bucks. Remember, not every G-League team made the trip to the Bubble, so despite Jordan Nwora being a member of the Bucks organization, he is loaned to the Stars to compete in the bubble.
Nwora got into ten NBA games prior to the Bubble with his best game being against the Pistons. He went for 11 points on 80-percent shooting from the floor, including a 3-for-3 night from beyond the arc, with four rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Be sure to check back to Bricktown Buckets for more Blue coverage throughout the season and follow along on Twitter!
For the full OKC Blue Schedule, click here!