Should OKC Blue shooting guard DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell be offered a two-way deal with the OKC Thunder?
After going undrafted in 2016, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell signed a two-way deal with the Denver Nuggets. He played only seven games for the mile-high franchise, and two games in the G-League. Then in 2019 Akoon-Purcell signed on with the OKC Thunder.
The Thunder then waived the shooting guard before the season started. The 6’6″ shooting guard played the summer league for the Indiana Pacers, then signed on with the OKC Blue for the G-League season. Coming off the bench for the majority of the season, his game shone through.
In the 41 games prior to the COVID-19 shut down Akoon-Purcell averaged 17.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He shot the ball at 49.3 from the floor and 39.4 percent from deep.
How much credence should the OKC Thunder have in the past?
As mentioned earlier, Akoon-Purcell has played seven games in the NBA for the Nuggets. In that time he averaged 1.0 points, 0.9 assists and 0.6 rebounds. So, how much should the OKC Thunder look to his previous stint as a guide for his future production?
The answer to that is not much. The Nuggets have been in win-now mode for a while and Akoon-Purcell simply did not fit with this timeline. He only averaged 3.1 minutes per game during this previous stint.
He played two games with the Delaware Blue Coats at this time where he showed tremendous ability to drive to the hoop and draw the foul. He averaged 9.5 free-throw attempts in these two games. This helped him go for 24.5 points per game.
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However, the first time Akoon-Purcell was able to show what he had over a full season was with the Blue. This gives us the best ability to judge his potential production, to see if he would be worth risking the OKC Thunder signing him to a two-way contract.
Akoon-Purcell shot the ball well for the Blue. He went 49.3 percent from the floor, taking 13.1 shots per contest. He also shot the ball well from deep, going at 39.4 percent on 5.0 shot attempts.
If he was given a two-way deal, Akoon Purcell could show what he is capable of. If he shows that he is a worthy player then Sam Presti would surely convert this deal to a full contract. Now that the Thunder are probably not going to be in win-now mode, it is time to try new things.
The joy of the two-way deal is the Blue play the same brand of basketball as the OKC Thunder. This is a conscious decision so that the varsity squad can call up a player without having to worry about their fit in the squad.
Akoon-Purcell has also shown that he is a tremendous bench spark. There were games where he was the only effective bench player for the Blue. If he is able to deliver even a quarter of his G-League production in the NBA, then the risk is worth taking for the OKC Thunder.