OKC Thunder trade Alperen Sengun. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
With the 2021 NBA Summer League complete, fans got an early hint of what to expect from the most recent additions to the league. For the OKC Thunder, the 2021 event was more about seeing how the new pieces fit, building chemistry, and pinpointing gaps within the roster.
Thunder Nation knew beforehand this SL roster wasn’t likely to be competing for the tournament title. Especially upon learning Aleksej Pokusevski wouldn’t participate. My cohort Rylan Stiles and I had visions of POKU making nightly highlight reels as he served up a bevy of jaw-dropping passes. Instead, we’ll have to wait until preseason to witness his magical dimes again.
That meant the focus would be on the four 2021 rookies but early injury setbacks shifted those expectations. Josh Giddey turned his ankle in the club’s opening match in Vegas sidelining him for the remainder of the tournament.
The other three rookies were on hand with each putting their imprint on games. Tre Mann played two matches prior to also being shut down. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins each took advantage of the full five games to display the skills that led to Sam Presti drafting them.
Summer League hints of huge OKC Thunder draft miscue as Sengun feasts
Yet it was the rookie that the OKC Thunder drafted for another club that arguably made the most impressive mark in Vegas. Hindsight is 20-20 and but…