OKC Thunder: Why Pokusevski’s battle to gain size isn’t that big a deal

For a small-market team, the draft is the easiest way to build their best title contender since free agents typically gravitate to large markets. Entering the 2021 NBA Draft the OKC Thunder had six picks (three in each round).

Over the next several seasons the Thunder will be simultaneously drafting prospects while also developing the young assets on the squad.

Why OKC Thunder, Aleksej Pokusevski weight battle isn’t that serious

They’ll also enter the 2021-22 season with the goal of developing the young talents on the squad of which there are many — 11 players are 23 or under to be exact. One player who’ll be garnering much of our focus this season is sophomore Aleksej Pokusevski.

The 19-year old who won’t turn 20 until December 26th spent the offseason working on improving his game and hitting the weight room.

Although many on social media are asking how hard he hit that gym. As per above, he posted photos of him increasing his caloric intake but every photo we’ve seen shows the young man still looking extremely thin.

OKC Thunder has witnessed this before. Kevin Durant was tall and lanky when he first burst onto the scene and it’s not like he ever filled out dramatically.  Odds are POKU has an extremely high metabolism and might even fall under the ectomorph physique where they always struggle to gain mass via weight or muscle.

There are plenty of players in NBA history who’ve survived in fact thrived with that body frame similar to Pokusevski. As noted KD is probably the most successful. Father and son duo Manute Bol and Bol Bol both have similar body structures. Tayshaun Prince was a standout during the Pistons’ dominance of the early millennium.

Kristaps Porzingis and Chris Boucher are probably the best current examples closest in age. The unicorn has struggled with injuries and plays more of a role (or should) requiring him to be more physical in the paint. Boucher again is a player who plays a similar role to POKU but he’s more actively involved in blocking shots and less involved with ball handling.

The bottom line is whether Pokusevski was able to add much weight or muscle won’t be the determining factor to his development. Sure, it’ll help but as long as he keeps gaining strength and growing the skills of his game he can set his sights on a high ceiling.