Aleksej Pokusevski already eagerly awaited for his second NBA campaign | NBA

Evolving for a time at the position of leader last season, after a passage through the “bubble” of the G-League, Aleksej Pokusevski experienced an unusual rookie season with Oklahoma City. From the height of his 2m13 (for 87 kg only), the young Serbian player embodied the “tanking” of his club, with this experience leading, or at least, creation. An experience that seems all the same called to be renewed.

A first season in two stages

With the success met by Giannis Antetokounmpo with the Bucks, the Thunder in turn begins to dream of a golden future behind the talent of a tall, skinny stakes from the Old Continent. In the case of OKC and Poku, it’s more about taking the time to develop your talents, even if it means testing the patience of their fans.

“I have progressed as a player on the pitch and as a professional in general”, recently explained Aleksej Pokusevski on the Thunder website. “I have a better command of the game and I can read the actions more easily now. We know what we want to do, what we want to build here. At the end of the day, you have to learn and stay focused on what you want to accomplish. “

Author of a season with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 average assists, including 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists after the break of the All-Star Game, “Poku” finally presented two faces: first, that logically fearful of the frail teenager who arrives in a ruthless world of thick brutes, and then, after the All-Star Break therefore, that almost intoxicating of a player with obvious talent who can do everything well on a basketball court.

The objective of his second season will of course be to remain on the same dynamic, the one which notably saw him finish with 29 points and 8 rebounds, including a nice 6/9 at 3-points. His combination of size and technical qualities makes him one of the hopes announced in the lineage of Kevin Durant, another former Thunder of course …

“The big change in his season came when he came back from the bubble [de la G-League] », confirms Sam Presti, the GM of OKC. “We have given priority to what is in his interest in the long term in order to achieve our objectives: to make him play in the bubble and to give him the ball in hand a little more often so that he feels more at home. ‘easy. He was able to play a lot of games with a lot of different players without having to deal with travel. He was just in a whole new environment and we saw his progress when he got back. “

Between muscle building, work and altruism

On vacation since the end of last May, Aleksej Pokusevski has not been asked for the summer league but has followed a particular program set up by his franchise, aimed at making him physically stronger and more enduring in general. Sam Presti was very satisfied with the efforts made by his latest nugget.

After having wiped the plaster this year, Poku will be able to play more liberated for its second season. He will still have things to learn, but the biggest seems already behind him.

“Our standards are high”, adds head coach Mark Daigneault, “But he accepted this deal. He did everything he was asked to do. I was particularly impressed with his ability to organize us for someone who doesn’t really play in this role. [de meneur]. He simplified his game, he made it cleaner, but without sacrificing his creative qualities. [La saison passée] should have supplied him with good fuel. There is good reason to be optimistic with him. “

Not without recalling his compatriot Nikola Jokic, MVP title of the League, who had taken on his account the idea “that a pass was always tastier than a basket, because the first makes two happy”, Aleksej Pokusevski is before all an altruistic player, who lets go of the ball easily when he sees a unmarked teammate. And this may be the salvation of the Thunder who seeks yet another star to align next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, extended this summer for a beefy contract (172 million dollars over five years) …

“I try to make my teammates better, by finding them on the move or in an open position. With one pass, you make two happy. Offensively, it’s just a matter of using my supports well and taking the right spaces. Always keep eye contact with the player with the ball. I learned to use my size pretty well on defense. I just have to keep the player in front of me. I don’t have to be too close to him because I have long arms and I can challenge all shots pretty well. “

Aleksej Pokusevski will in any case begin his second season in the NBA with a lot of hopes on his frail shoulders. For his part, his frankness will continue to protect him and put him in a position to succeed. At only 20 years old, Poku still has time to find the best fuel.

Alexey PokusevskyPercentageRebounds


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