OKC Thunder: Mike Muscala rediscovers the 3-point range

Mike Muscala #33 and Nerlens Noel #9 of the OKC Thunder smile during a game against the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mike Muscala #33 and Nerlens Noel #9 of the OKC Thunder smile during a game against the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

When OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti signed Mike Muscala the expectations were high. It’s taken a few months but he’s finally excelling and fitting into his role.

In his first season with the OKC Thunder, Mike Muscala hadn’t exactly been thriving. It took him a long time to find his shooting touch, particularly from range.

Sam Presti seemed smitten with adding him to the team and perhaps he would’ve been a better fit with the roster the OKC Thunder General Manager was planning on slotting him into. That would be one which included Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

With the trades no doubt the role he was envisioned to play shifted. He’s had more success of late, however.

In the first 20 games, this season Muscala appeared on 13 occasions with his playing time ranging from serviceable minutes to garbage time and he shot an abysmal 25.6 percent from deep.

In the next 20 games, he again appeared 13 times with minor improvements as he shot 27.3 percent from deep. Still well shy of his projected potential. TI has noted frequently how difficult a reserve role can be, particularly when the touches and minutes aren’t always consistent.

Through the next segment of 15 games up until the break, Muscala has appeared in 11 matches and is shooting lights out from deep with a 52.5 percent efficiency.

Bucknell Bisons retire Muscala’s jersey:

This past weekend Muscala was honored by his alma mater – Bucknell University. The big man played the full four years at Bucknell accumulating some special benchmarks during this time.

He wore jersey number 31 which is the number that the team retired on Saturday afternoon during halftime as Bucknell hosted American University.

In his four seasons with his college team, Muscala was an offensive weapon producing averages of 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

While there he developed his stroke becoming one of the better 3-point shooters; a weapon he brought to the pros.

In terms of records, Muscala collected 2,036 points making him the all-time leading scorer for Bucknell. Twice he was anointed the MVP of events during the Patriot League tournaments in 2011 and 2013.

Nick Gallo spoke to Muscala prior to the Pelicans game and asked him at the end of the video about his thoughts on his Bisons retiring his number. The big man was clearly touched and noted what an honor it is. He also spoke of how excited he was to spend time back with his alma mater and that he’d been talking to his former teammates.

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Moving forward, there won’t ever be any delusions about Muscala’s defensive ability. That said, if he can maintain this high 3-point efficiency of late he becomes a valuable weapon Billy Donovan can utilize to get some quick offense for the OKC Thunder.