OKC Thunder: Grading Theo Maledon’s tremendous rookie season

OKC Thunder. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder drafted two players of the future in the 2020 NBA draft. They took Aleksej Pokusevski with the 17th pick and he had a season full of growth. What Theo Maledon, a second-round pick, has been able to do is incredible.

Like Pokusevski, Maledon has had to contend with a new country, a new league, and also deal with a global pandemic on top of being a rookie in the NBA. He had a slight advantage over Pokusevski in that he was coached by Tony Parker in France before coming over to the NBA.

Maledon still struggled to find his feet, playing on a rebuilding team who was quite obviously developing another rookie first. Maledon had to work his way into the rotation, playing behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and George Hill at the start of the season.

The OKC Thunder have benefitted from Theo Maledon delivering as promised.

The scouting report on Maledon focussed on his ability to pass the basketball. Maledon has incredible court vision. He is able to see plays developing before other people and can thread a pass to an open player which not many other players in the world have the ability to make.

The Thunder also benefitted from Maledon’s ability to score the basketball. After a slow start to the season, Maledon averaged 10.1 points to go along with 3.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 27.4 minutes per game. These are really good numbers for a rookie, especially in his rookie season on a rebuilding team.