The Oklahoma City Thunder made a shocking announcement on Friday, ahead of the regular-season finale for the OKC Blue, the Thunder recalled 2020 first round pick Aleksej Pokusevski from the NBA G-League Bubble. Thus, Poku missed the Saturday regular season win-or-go-home matchup with the Warriors, and the Blue fell, making them the final team eliminated from the G-League bubble.
It was rather odd to see the OKC Thunder pull Aleksej Pokusevski from the G-League bubble to start the NBA All-Star Break, considering the G-League season, barring the Blue who did not make the playoffs making a title run, ends prior to the season re-start. It was assumed Poku would be allowed to play out the season with the Blue. However, the other side of the coin is maybe this was done to allow Aleksej Pokusevski to participate in practices. If the OKC Thunder and head coach Mark Daigneault elect to run practices prior to the second half of the season, that practice time with NBA talent, coaches, and within this system, is more valuable than one single G-League game.
Many Thunder fans, under the press release tweet, speculated that a trade was looming. I do not think a trade was the motive of a call-up at all. The Thunder would have in all likelihood had Aleksej Pokusevski back before Thursday regardless if he stayed or not. Ty Jerome was called up and active within 24-hours earlier this season. It is fun to speculate, but the difference in OKC making a trade now or later is not re-calling Aleksej Pokusevski from the G-League.
In the Bubble, Aleksej Pokusevski posted 7-points, 7-rebounds, 4-assists, and a block per game with the Blue.
The OKC Blue finished a game over .500, with an 8-7 record, after starting out hot, they hit a rough stretch to end the year going 4-6 in their last ten games of the year.
In the Bubble, Omer Yurtseven, Moses Brown, Ty Jerome, and Aleksej Pokusevski stole the hearts of Thunder fans who invested time in watching the G-League product.
Josh Hall, who was highly anticipated heading into the bubble, played just one game worth 15 minutes in the bubble due to a knee injury.
The OKC Blue saw a great draft class with Rob Edwards, Zavier Simpson, and Vincent Edwards all putting up respectable numbers.
Moses Brown dominated the bubble going for 18.5 points per game, 13.9 rebounds per game, 1.7 blocks per game, all on 54-percent from the field, and as a 7’2 big man, 64-percent from the free-throw line. It is a little disingenuous to put this all back on his height and write it off as the only reason why Brown found success. The 21-year-old, who is on a two-way contract, showed flashes of sustainable post-moves in the Bubble. Of course, the safe bet is to assume Brown has a limited at best NBA career. However, the UCLA product will likely get a ton of minutes in the second half of this season, to show otherwise.
Omer Yurtseven has been a player that many OKC Thunder fans have clamored for since Training Camp. He stands 7’0 but is incredibly mobile and was able to put up 15-points, nine rebounds, and an assist per game. The Georgetown product also posted 38-percent shooting from beyond the arc (1.5 attempts per game). Yurtseven’s best route to the NBA is via a two-way contract, and the Thunder does not have one to give for now. Josh Hall and Moses Brown occupy both two-way deals for OKC.
Rob Edwards put up 12 points per game on 41-percent shooting from the floor, 44-percent from three, three rebounds, an assist, and half a steal per game in the Blue’s 15 games. Edwards, is already 24 years old, he will be a career G-Leaguer by all indications, but he will be a driving force for the Blue for years to come hopefully. If you have not, check out his Blue highlights.
Josh Hall, Moses Brown, and Aleksej Pokusevski re-join the Oklahoma City Thunder now and will be prepared for the second half of the NBA Season.