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The Thunder are 40 games into 2021-2022, which means it’s time to hand out my midseason report cards.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: B.
It’s true that SGA has struggled with efficiency this season, as his percentages across the board have nosedived from his elite numbers last season. It’s also true that SGA is still an All-Star talent facing constant double teams, having no space to operate and forced to take highly difficult shots. Shai is still that dude.
Lu Dort: B
Luguentz’s finishing at the rim improved remarkably this season, and it’s led to a slight bump in overall efficiency. But despite hitting a three in over 45 straight games, Dort’s long-distance numbers have dipped from a year ago. Opposing guards still groan when they see his name on the upcoming schedule.
Josh Giddey: A
After all the heartbreak of OKC’s lottery night fate, the Thunder ended up with a top 5 talent after all. Giddey made NBA history by becoming the youngest player to ever record a triple double and has won back to back Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors, but the real reason to watch him is for the bonkers in-bounds passing.
Aaron Wiggins: A-
Andrew Wiggins was a #1 overall pick who famously failed to live up to his lofty draft status. Aaron Wiggins is a #55 overall pick who has the two largest scoring outputs amongst a celebrated Thunder rookie class. A no brainer for the Lu Dort/Moses Brown mid-season full NBA contract Thunder special.
Darius Bazley: C-
Baze’s struggles have been well chronicled, so I won’t pile on the guy. On the contrary, let’s hear it for Darius for accepting a bench role with class and improving his game in a lesser role.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: B+
Second round rookies are supposed to be overseas stashes or G League roster churners. On a rebuilding OKC squad lacking size, JRE has become a nightly starter and flashed the potential to become a solid two-way stretch big.
Tre Mann: B
Mann is only averaging 7.1 points per game, yet it feels like every one of those points came via a SportsCenter Top 10 moment. An explosive human highlight reel, he’s somehow the most exciting yet still most underrated player in this Thunder rookie class.
Paul Watson Jr.: C
Hard to grade a two-way contract player receiving spare minutes but he outlasted Gabriel Deck in Thunder Survivor, so Watson gets a passing score.
Aleksej Pokusevski: D+
Don’t let the grade fool you, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the Poku Experience. He may just hit a three on 23% of his attempts, but just like catching Haley’s Comet, the rarity enhances the joy of the ones that do fall to all-out exhilaration.
Ty Jerome: C-
OKC’s young sharpshooter has become a shoddyshooter this season, but chalk that up to inconsistent playing time making it tough to find a rhythm. Jerome’s scoring has been an X factor in a handful of games and he weirdly deserves more minutes despite the plunging percentages.
Theo Maledon: D
Gotta wonder if Tony Parker has unmarked OKC as one of his League Pass teams.
Isaiah Roby: B
He’s played in less than half the games and spare minutes at that, but Roby is shooting a robust 50% from three and 56% from the field on the season. Wait, maybe that’s why he’s hardly playing.
Kenrich Williams: A
Kenny Hustle would improve every single playoff team and contender. But he’s so valuable as a do-it-all energy glue guy and leader that even Sam Presti might pass on a 1st round pick offer for the mulletted man.
Mike Muscala: A-
OKC desperately needed a center who could shoot for a decade. Now they have a 6’11” Steph Curry on their bench who plays 13.9 minutes a night. You know the Thunder want to win if the Moose is loose during crunch time.
Derrick Favors: C
The former Jazz big man is on the Chris Paul/Al Horford Thunder plan, but Derrick’s perfectly adequate play isn’t doing his trade stock any Favors. To be fair, he’s not exactly hurting it either. He’s just kinda there. Hey, “kinda there” may be pretty valuable at the trade deadline this injury and Covid riddled season.
Vit Krejci: G… League
About once a week, I’ll remember Vit is on the Thunder roster and I’ll be surprised all over again. He’s turned me into the dude from Memento.