Thunder Waive 2020 First-Round Pick Forward Aleksej Pokusevski

‣ The Oklahoma City Thunder are waiving forward Aleksej Pokusevski, who was their No. 17 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and played 150 games across almost four years.

‣ Pokusevski set records early in his career, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to score 20-plus points at 19 years and 78 days old, and also the second-youngest player in NBA history to make five 3-pointers in a game.

‣ Despite showing promise in his rookie season with career highs of 8.2 points, 2.2 assists, and 24.2 minutes per game, Pokusevski’s performance has declined, leading to career lows in points, rebounds, and minutes played in the current season.


So, here’s the scoop. The Oklahoma City Thunder are saying goodbye to forward Aleksej Pokusevski. Yep, you heard it right. Sources are buzzing with this news. Pokusevski, just 22, was initially picked 17th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2020 NBA Draft. But, plot twist, the 7-footer got traded to the Thunder the very next day.

This Serbian native isn’t new to the game, having started his professional journey overseas with Olympiacos of the EuroLeague. There’s this one game against Bayern Munich back in the 2018-19 season. Picture this: in just one minute on the court, he scores a point, grabs two rebounds, and dishes out an assist. Talk about making an entrance!

Now, let’s dive into a tweet from Shams Charania. “The Oklahoma City Thunder are waiving Aleksej Pokusevski,” he spills the beans, citing sources from @TheAthletic and @Stadium. Over nearly four years, Pokusevski played 150 games for the Thunder. That’s a lot of basketball, folks.

Oh, and did I mention he was a record breaker? At 17 years and 83 days old, Pokusevski became the youngest senior men’s Olympiacos player to debut in the EuroLeague. He even beat Georgios Printezis’s record. Before the 2019-20 season kicked off, he was playing in the Greek A2 League with Olympiacos’ reserve team. But, a knee injury sidelined him for almost three months.

Despite the setback, Pokusevski shone in the Greek A2 League. Starting in eight of his 11 appearances, he averaged impressive stats across the board. Fast forward, and he’s one of the youngest players ever drafted into the NBA. Names like Andrew Bynum, Jermaine O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant are on that list too.

His rookie season with the Thunder was nothing short of spectacular. On March 11, 2021, he made his first NBA career start and left everyone in awe. Just three days later, he records his first career double-double. The stats? Mind-blowing. He even set a record as the youngest player in franchise history to score 20-plus points.

But, there’s a twist. Despite his early success, Pokusevski’s performance has seen a dip. His averages have dropped significantly this season. And with the rise of Chet Holmgren, Pokusevski’s role in the team has dwindled.

In a nutshell, Aleksej Pokusevski’s journey with the Oklahoma City Thunder has been a rollercoaster. From breaking records to facing challenges, his time in the NBA has been eventful, to say the least. What’s next for him? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure, the basketball world will be watching.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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