The Oklahoma City Thunder are playing with eight players tonight against the Detroit Pistons following yet another roster moves this morning when the Thunder waived Justin Jackson. This opened up a roster spot, on a team not only shorthanded via injury, but they are also after the move of waiving Justin Jackson were, all things considered, down three roster spots. OKC has an empty two-way contract they can choose to fill, Al Horford is taking up a roster spot while he is shut down for the rest of the year, and now the hole left behind by Justin Jackson.
However, the hole left behind by Justin Jackson is already filled, and by another Justin! The team has inked Justin Robinson to a ten-day contract. This will be a common theme throughout the rest of the year, cycling through ten-day contracts as I laid out in the story on Jackson’s release.
These are not empty ten-day contracts either, oftentimes guys will ink these pacts as a stop-gap or minutes eater with no legitimate chance of grabbing a more stable role. However, that is not the case in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are in the rare position to not only give Justin Robinson all the minutes he can handle within these ten days but evaluate him with the ability to keep him long-term in the form of a two-way contract this year and into next year.
Justin Robinson was the catalyst of a Delaware team that went to the G-League Finals inside the NBA G-League bubble. Robinson plays a premier position, as a point guard, Robinson will get even more run. As this team is loaded with wings but due to the injury to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder do not have a ton of guard depth.
Robinson is 23 years old and has played in nine NBA games. That Virginia Tech southpaw saw his best NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, pouring in five points, grabbing three rebounds, while dishing out two assists all in just nine minutes of action.
In the NBA G-League Bubble, the 23-year-old averaged 15-points per game, three rebounds per game, dishing out six assists per contest, while getting a swipe per contest on the defensive end. His shooting splits were encouraging, most notably stroking the 3-ball at a 40-percent clip.
The odds say, this will expire after ten days no harm no foul, but you can not count out Justin Robinson just yet. Especially not with how great each player has been within Mark Daigneault’s system.
In this year, this is the focus, the team is not trying to win games much less make the postseason, they are simply panning for gold.