He was a lottery talent, that was taken on a promise with pick 21 by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mitch McGary likes the Thunder and OKC sure like the talented power forward, but just how will head coach Scott Brooks utilize the rookie and what level of production will he give the team this season?
Last year, Steven Adams put together a solid and rather surprising rookie season. The big Kiwi center’s number won’t blow you away (3.3ppg, 4.1rpg and a PER of 11.25) but he managed those numbers in just under 15 minutes per night.
Mitch McGary will be looking at Adams’ rookie campaign as a bit of a benchmark for himself this season.
While Adams was drafted in the lottery, he was considered a project who would need time. McGary will also need time to find his feet at the pro level, don’t discount his talent of potential just because of his draft position.
McGary is coming off a back injury that limited his sophomore season with the Michigan Wolverines, but he showed no ill affects of the injury during his summer league stint. If anything, the summer league campaign solidified the common notion that the Thunder got themselves a steal (again) late in the first round.
Averages of 14.8ppg and 5.8rpg throughout the summer league show the potential McGary has. He can shoot the basketball with range, rebounds well and has a high basketball IQ. What the stats don’t show, is his incredible energy and hustle when he takes the floor. That type of effort is what will get you time on the floor for Brooks.
With Nick Collison in the twilight of his career, there are minutes up for grabs in the Thunder frontcourt. If McGary can make the most of his opportunities, he could put together a rookie season that resembles Steven Adams’. With a little more polish on the offensive end, we might even see a slightly higher scoring average by seasons end.
Don’t expect Mitch McGary to light up the boxscore and win Rookie of the Year, but you can expect him to feature frequently in the OKC line up this season.