We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump and while it does exist in every sport at every level of competition, the NBA is an intriguing case study for the opposing phenomenon of the sophomore slump: The Sophomore Surge.
(By the way, it was really hard to not title this the sophomore Serge, but I resisted.)
You see rookies are known, if not even expected, to do two horrible things in their rookie season. They take unbelievably ill-advised and often rushed shots, thereby plummeting their FG%, AND they turn the ball over so much that coaches round the world simultaneously smack their foreheads and yearn to call for a sub.
Are there exceptions to this rule? Well, of course—but not really. I mean of course there are exceptions in that not everyone is going to suffer from both and some will do better in these categories than others but, pretty much across the board, a rookie is going to take better shots and take better care of the ball more in their second-through-retirement seasons than they will in their rookie season. In fact, I’ll go out on a very short limb and say it should come as no shock to any of us that professional basketball players get better the more time they have to play professional basketball up until that no fun thief known as age steals their youth and physical prime.
It’s called experience and adapting to the speed and level of play of the Association. So why all the references to the sophomore surge? Well, seeing as the Thunder are still one of the youngest teams in the league and have a core consisting of players all under the age of 23, we have witnessed that “jump” from the rookie season to the sophomore season in terms of production and development. In fact, we’ve also seen the jump (via Durant) from sophomore stud to junior All-Star and MVP candidate (though please don’t expect all Thunder players to make that jump).
And since there are three rookie pieces that are as essential to the Thunder’s rise to the next stage of competing for a championship, the sophomore surge of Serge, Harden and Maynor will greatly affect the current and futures success of this team.
So what can we expect?
Well, for starters, you might not want to expect the same dramatic jump that you saw from Durant, Westbrook and even Green make for the Thunder’s newest sophomores. And here’s why… Keep Reading…