OKC Thunder recall Theo Maledon from G League team

Second-year guard Theo Maledon was recalled to the OKC Thunder after playing on the G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

The Oklahoma City Thunder recalled second-year guard Theo Maledon from their G League affiliate, the organization announced on Tuesday.

Maledon had originally been sent to the OKC Blue on Nov. 11. In his five total games with the Blue, he averaged 15.4 points, 4.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 33.7 minutes per game.

While those numbers are good, he has struggled at the NBA level this season. Through nine games, he is averaging 2.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 14.2 minutes of play. He is shooting just 20.6% from the field and 13.6% from 3.

It’s a step down from his rookie season, when he played the most minutes on the Thunder and filled in well for George Hill after the veteran guard got injured and eventually traded.

Maledon can help fill in for another guard now if so needed. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed the game on Monday due to a right ankle sprain, so Maledon can be insurance if SGA does have to miss more time or feels pain in the ankle.

The Thunder’s next game will be on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central Time.

[lawrence-related id=448277]

[listicle id=448263]

How did the recently recalled Thunder players do in the G League?

Isaiah Roby, Tre Mann and Vit Krejci were recently recalled to the Thunder. How did they do in their games with the OKC Blue?

The Oklahoma City Thunder recalled Isaiah Roby, Vit Krejci and Tre Mann from the G League on Sunday ahead of the game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Roby played one game for the OKC Blue while Vit Krejci and Tre Mann appeared in two apiece.

How did the young Thunder players perform with the OKC Blue?

Krejci, in two starts, posted a well-rounded 9.5 points, 5.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds over 25.2 minutes per game.

On Sunday night, he appeared for five seconds in the Thunder game, making him the 59th player to play in both a G League and NBA game in the same day, according to the Oklahoman.

Mann started a pair of games for the Blue and posted averages of 6.5 points, 5.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds over 16.5 minutes per game.

However, he only played nine minutes in the second game due to a nose injury. In that time on the court, he scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting and had three rebounds and two assists.

Head coach Mark Daigneault said the team had planned to send him down from the onset of the season, but gave him five Thunder appearances before doing so. Mann is averaging about five points and one rebounds over 10 minutes per game with OKC.

Roby played 29 minutes in the Blue’s Sunday win over the Salt Lake City Stars. He scored 19 points and grabbed 11 boards with 8-for-13 shooting from the field, by far his best game of the season.

A mainstay for the Thunder last year, Roby has had a slow start to his NBA season. In five appearances, he has posted 5.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game and is shooting 45.5%.

Oklahoma City takes the court again tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans with a 7 p.m. tipoff.

[listicle id=447666]

Thunder rookie Tre Mann assigned to G League team

Tre Mann has been assigned to the Oklahoma City Blue.

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie guard Tre Mann has been assigned to the G League, the organization announced on Friday.

Mann, the No. 18 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, will play for the OKC Blue.

On Friday afternoon, Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault told media that it was the organization’s long-term plan to send Mann to the G League and that this was not the result of the guard’s on-court play.

Daigneault said he told Mann the morning of the first game of the season that he would bounce between the Thunder and the Blue.

“We didn’t want him to think it was based on the outcome of how he played in a game,” Daigneault said. “Diversity of experiences for a young player is important, so his ability to go there, play more minutes, take on a heavier load defensively, find a little bit of rhythm offensive, settle into games a little bit more, settle into practices a little bit more, is a great opportunity for him to grow.”

Mann played well in his first two games, shooting a combined 7-for-12 from the field, but over the next three games he only made three total shots and missed all four 3s he attempted.

The 20-year-old can get some play as a lead guard with the Blue.

Sending him to the G League will also create playing time for backup guard Ty Jerome at the NBA level. Jerome, who averaged 10.7 points and shot 42.3% from 3 last season, has only appeared in two of the Thunder’s first five games.

Guard/forward Vit Krejci was recalled from the G League and then re-assigned multiple times this week. Daigneault said it was a formality to maximize his practice time with both groups.

Vit Krejci assigned to Thunder G League affiliate OKC Blue

The Thunder sent Vit Krejci to the G League, where he will play for the OKC Blue once the season begins on Nov. 5.

After appearing briefly in two games for the Oklahoma City Thunder, rookie Vit Krejci has been assigned to the G League affiliate, the OKC Blue.

Krejci scored two points and grabbed a pair of rebounds over the nine total minutes he played in the opening two games of the season.

The 21-year-old Czech guard was initially acquired by the Thunder on draft night in 2020. Oklahoma City traded for the rights to his pick, No. 37 overall, which had belonged to the Washington Wizards.

He missed the entire of last season due to ACL injury suffered in September 2020. In 2019, Krejci averaged 3.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.2 minutes over 37 games with Casademont Zaragoza.

The 6-foot-8 guard signed a multi-year contract with the Thunder last month.

By sending Krejci to the Blue, the Thunder can give the young guard more time on the court and get him better accustomed to U.S. basketball without needing to find time at the NBA level.

Last season, the Thunder did this with several players, some of whom returned looking much better than prior to the G League bubble. Aleksej Pokusevski in particular played much better basketball after returning from the affiliate.

Oklahoma City’s next game is Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors. The G League season will begin on Nov. 5.

Report: Thunder to pay Vit Krejci’s termination clause; Czech G expected to join Blue

Vit Krejci will reportedly be bought out of his contract by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s expected to join the Blue.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will get a closer look at an intriguing international prospect this upcoming season. Vit Krejci, a 6-foot-8 Czech guard, will reportedly join the organization.

Heraldo reported the Thunder plan to pay Krejci’s termination clause from the Spanish team Zaragoza and bring him to the United States. The 21-year-old is expected to play for the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate.

Krejci was drafted with the No. 37 pick in the 2020 draft by the Washington Wizards. His rights were traded to the Thunder the night of the draft.

The guard has played professional ball since early 2016, according to Real GM. In his most complete season, 2019-20, Krejci averaged 3.7 points in about nine minutes per game over 37 appearances.

Last year, Krejci’s season ended after just two games when he ruptured his ACL. Now, he heads to Oklahoma City.

According to Thunderous Intentions, Krejci’s rehab timeline is expected to allow him to play in the summer league, if the team chooses to put him on the roster for it. He will practice in full in July and play 5-on-5s in August, the site reported.

The summer league is scheduled to take place from Aug. 8-17.

3 things to know about new Thunder forward Jaylen Hoard

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced they had signed forward Jaylen Hoard to a two-way contract on Monday. Hoard, who turned 22 less than a week before he was signed, will have a chance to prove himself to the OKC front office as the season nears its …

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced they had signed forward Jaylen Hoard to a two-way contract on Monday. Hoard, who turned 22 less than a week before he was signed, will have a chance to prove himself to the OKC front office as the season nears its close.

Hoard, from France, is in his second season in the NBA. He was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers last season and played for the Oklahoma City Blue G League team in the bubble last month.

He made his Thunder debut on Monday, tallying 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of play against the Detroit Pistons.

Here are some pieces of background about the new Thunder player.

Pokusevski playing in bubble was ‘best thing that he could have ever done’

Aleksej Pokusevski has looked like a better and more comfortable player since returning to the OKC Thunder from the G League.

When Aleksej Pokusevski returned from playing for the OKC Blue in the G League bubble, the Oklahoma City Thunder immediately noticed a difference.

Pokusevski looked more comfortable with the pace of the NBA. He looked better on the court. His numbers went up, to be sure, but more importantly, the eye test shows a better-adjusted player.

“When he went to the bubble, I think that was the best thing that he could have ever done or what we could have ever done with him,” Daigneault said.

“It allowed him to take a deep breath. It allowed a clean breaking point in the season for him to reflect on the first half.”

Daigneault said this after Pokusevski’s 21-point, six-rebound game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The 7-foot forward did this on 8-for-17 shooting.

These numbers may not jump off the page, but it’s unthinkably quick improvement for the youngest player in the league.

Over the first half of the season, Pokusevski reached 10 points just once in 17 appearances. He made more than three shots in only one game, and was shooting a smidge under 25% from the field and 18% from 3.

In the bubble, he got important minutes on the court, both in the starting lineup and late in games. His stats ticked up for the Blue, and he looked confident — and made some highlights.

In Pokusevski’s first game back, he set career-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds. Two games later, he recorded the first double-double of his career, scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 boards against the Atlanta Hawks. Those remain career-highs two weeks later.

“Finding my pace on offense and still playing hard, competing in every game and just finding my pace with the ball on the offensive end,” he said after the March 11 game, the first after the All-Star break. “Just getting more comfortable with the ball and learning the pace of the game in America.”

Daigneault said he noticed similar.

“His pace these last 10 games or so has been significantly different and more controlled than early on,” the coach said. “That’s a good indicator that the game’s slowing down for him.”

Pokusevski entered COVID-19 health and safety protocol prior to the Wednesday game against the Toronto Raptors, but once he returns, he should be one of the Thunder’s most important players for the remainder of the season.

The No. 17 pick in the 2020 draft will continue to get all the opportunities he needs in the starting lineup as the organization prioritizes his growth.

[lawrence-related id=443780,443167,442964]

[mm-video type=video id=01f1v660rvksa3r4f1 playlist_id=01f09kz5ecxq9bp57b player_id=01f1jxkahtwnvzepyp image=https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/video/thumbnail/mmplus/01f1v660rvksa3r4f1/01f1v660rvksa3r4f1-c4a51f0451f94ece775d946229da6616.jpg]

Moses Brown contract conversations started right after G League bubble

The OKC Thunder started discussing a standard contract with center Moses Brown shortly after he dominated the G League bubble.

Moses Brown’s new contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder may have been announced the day after the first 20/20 game of his career, but conversations for a standard contract began weeks before that.

Head coach Mark Daigneault said the organization started discussing a deal with the 7-foot-2 center when he returned from playing in the G League with the OKC Blue.

“When he got back from the bubble, this conversation kind of started,” Daigneault said. “It had been apparent that he was a worker and he’s a really good kid and that he’s somebody that had showed improvement by that point.”

Brown, who only played in 33 minutes as a rookie with the Portland Trail Blazers, joined Oklahoma City on a two-way deal. He got spot minutes for the team in the first half of the season before going to play for the Blue.

In Orlando, he broke out, averaging 18.5 points, 13.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He earned a Player of the Week honor there and was named to both the All-G League First Team and the Defensive Team.

By the time Brown returned, the Thunder were ready to get a look at him in the NBA. They thought the 21-year-old could continue to improve at the professional level.

“That’s why we put him on the court the way we did right away coming out of All-Star break, and he’s progressed nicely,” Daigneault said. “It’s only the beginning, hopefully, of his time here.”

This is the third year in a row that the Thunder have converted a two-way deal into a standard contract midway through the season. Last year, Lu Dort received a contract from OKC, and the season before it was Deonte Burton.

Burton is no longer rostered, but Dort’s final two seasons were guaranteed by the team last month.

Brown will now have the opportunity to receive the same. His contract is worth $6.8 million over four years, according to ESPN’s Royce Young, and only the first year is fully guaranteed.

“Our scouting, our guys pound the pavement scouting all over the world. They do an unbelievable job. And scouting’s kind of a thankless job … 99% of their evaluations are not guys that end up playing for us,” Daigneault said. “It’s great when we can pick up the development of that player. It shows great alignment, great synergy in the organization.”

[lawrence-related id=443686,443655,443629]

Moses Brown named to All-NBA G League First Team, Defensive Team

OKC Thunder center Moses Brown was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and Defensive Team for his performance with the Blue.

It’s been evident from Moses Brown’s recent play that the center picked up a thing or two from his time with the Oklahoma City Blue.

Now, he has the accolades to prove it. Brown was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and NBA G League All-Defensive Team, the developmental league announced on Tuesday.

Brown averaged 18.5 points, 13.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 26.4 minutes per game for the Blue. He received a G League Player of the Week honor for the week ending Feb. 23 for a five-game stretch in which he averaged 19.8 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals per game and helped OKC win all five games.

In his seven appearances since returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Brown has averaged 10.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in 26.5 minutes and started four games.

Here is the full list of the All-NBA G League First Team:

  • Moses Brown – Oklahoma City Blue
  • Mamadi Diakite – Lakeland Magic
  • Jared Harper – Westchester Knicks
  • Kevin Porter Jr. – Rio Grande Valley Vipers
  • Paul Reed – Delaware Blue Coats

Here is the NBA G League All-Defensive Team:

  • Moses Brown – Oklahoma City Blue
  • Mamadi Diakite – Lakeland Magic
  • Tahjere McCall – Lakeland Magic
  • Gary Payton II – Raptors 905
  • Paul Reed – Delaware Blue Coats

This post originally appeared on OKCThunderWire. Follow us on Facebook!

[lawrence-related id=443322,443140,442355]

Aleksej Pokusevski reflects on G League time with OKC Blue

Aleksej Pokusevski returned to the Thunder from the OKC Blue with a better feel for the pace of the game and more confidence.

Aleksej Pokusevski’s first game back from the G League bubble was arguably the best of his career.

He hit a clutch 3-pointer from the corner. He got to the free throw line for the first time. He posted career-highs in points and rebounds.

Head coach Mark Daigneault said that being in the bubble allowed Pokusevski to reflect on his first half of his rookie season and find a better balance to his offensive rhythm.

“The hardest balance for a team and for players, especially young players, is the balance between being aggressive and confident, but also being functional and investing in the offense and blending into the team and choosing your spots,” Daigneault said.

“Early on, I thought it was evident with Poku … that he was working through that obviously and couldn’t really find that on an overly consistent basis.”

In the bubble, Pokusevski had a more prominent role than he did with the Thunder. He was a starter for the Blue, did more ball handling and played more minutes.

He said he grew more comfortable with the way U.S. basketball is played.

“Finding my pace on offense and still playing hard, competing in every game and just finding my pace with the ball on the offensive end,” he said. “Just getting more comfortable with the ball and learning the pace of the game in America.”

It sounds like Daigneault has noticed some change during practice and in that the first game back, a 116-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

“When he went there it allowed him to take a deep breath, took some time to reflect … It allowed him to just remove himself both physically and mentally from the first stint of the season,” Daigneault said.

“Once he started playing in those games, he was allowing the game to unfold and let the plays come to him. And I thought that really carried over (against the Mavericks). There wasn’t really a time where he was trying to force or trying to make something happen that wasn’t there. He really helped the offense function.”

Pokusevski didn’t dominate the bubble by any means, but he did show some improvement in the box score along with the eye test. In 13 games with the Oklahoma City Blue, Pokusevski averaged 7.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 31.2% from the field and 27% from 3.

He also made a couple stellar passes that reached SportsCenter and the highlight reels.

Pokusevski was low-key about the pass.

“It was nice to see that I had some good moves, but the most important thing was we played as a team and I developed my game,” he said.

Daigneault similarly avoided celebrating those plays in the Zoom press conference. Though he gets excited about crazy highlights like anyone else, it’s not the flashy dimes that make great passers great passers, the coach said.

“When you watch Magic Johnson’s highlights, he’s making all those plays. If you watch Magic Johnson play the game, 90% of the passes he throws are really, really fundamental, simple passes, and that’s why he’s a great passer, not because of the highlight plays.”

To be clear, Daingeault was not comparing Pokusevski to Magic. Just saying the young forward has the abilities to be a great passer.

“The best passers, 90% of them, are making really, really simple, fundamental plays, getting off it early, putting teammates in quick advantages … and then the other ones that you see on the highlight film are frosting on the cake. He certainly has that ceiling as a passer, but no great passer has a whole diet of frosting.”

As Pokusevski matures and gets more accustomed to the game, maybe the Thunder will be able to have their frosted cake and eat it too.

[lawrence-related id=442924,442875,442817]

[mm-video type=video id=01ezqt1hhath443b9r playlist_id=01f09kz5ecxq9bp57b player_id=01eqbvq570kgj8vfs7 image=https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/video/thumbnail/mmplus/01ezqt1hhath443b9r/01ezqt1hhath443b9r-fab4a80c843e7feaac18fb19087e3b4e.jpg]