Tre Mann struggled in year two, is a bounce back looming?

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder join teammates as they dump water on Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder join teammates as they dump water on Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw their season end a week ago against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since then, we have talked to each player on the roster and General Manager Sam Presti. Tre Mann was open about his struggles this season and continued to stress how he will be better moving forward. So what is the pathway to success for Mann?

As the OKC Thunder ended their regular season, the team rested their regulars during the season finale. In which the Sophomore guard logged a triple-double. Posting 24 points, 12 rebounds, and as many assists with two steals while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw Tre Mann struggle in year two, is a bounce back in store for the former First-Round pick?

The second-year player seemed poised for a year-two breakout in the preseason. The Florida product scored 26 points on just 11 shot attempts against the Adelaide 36ers. This followed up on the 17-point performance against the Nuggets just days earlier.

However, this season never played out that way. After a rocky start to the regular season, the OKC Thunder sent Tre Mann down to the NBA G-League, where he dominated the G-League showcase in Vegas, dropping 37 and 40 points in the two games with the Blue before getting recalled to the varsity squad. That was part of a three games in as many nights stretch for the second-year guard.

Ultimately, Tre Mann finished the regular season with just four games of 20 or more points, and he cracked ten or more points 19 times during his Sophomore campaign.

His lowly 39 percent from the floor, 31 percent from beyond the arc, and just a 47 percent effective field goal percentage, all while averaging seven points, two rebounds, and an assist, led fans to give up on the former first-round pick.

After having dreams of him being a high-end sixth man with a microwave scoring ability, there is now a question as to if he will even survive the offseason in Bricktown.

The 22-year-old shot 61 percent at the rim, 42 percent on corner triples, and 46 percent in the long mid-range. Outside of those areas on the floor, he was no better than the 31st percentile for his position, according to cleaning the glass.

According to Synergy, Tre Mann was a below-average player on the offensive end for the OKC Thunder, only ranking high in transition, isolation, off-screen, and cutting offensively. However, he did take a significant leap on the defensive end from where he started. Synergy places him in the 76th percentile on that end of the floor, limiting opponents to 0.910 points per possession.

The former first-rounder was honest in saying, “It’s been a tough year for me,” before adding, “I’m going to keep working and just keep trusting the process.” while promising he is a better player than he showed this year following the triple-double outing against Memphis.

He reiterated that sentiment at Exit Interviews six days later, saying, “This was probably the toughest year I had. But like I said, my teammates and my coaches made it easier for me.”

Mann also stated, “I feel like I’m a better player this year than I was, even a more better player now than the start of the year.”

Mann told us his offseason plan is to ensure he stays sharp “I talked to the coaches, what they want from me, so I’m going into this summer with the information they just gave me.”

Is a bounce-back coming for the youngster? Tre Mann is entering his third season, where he is owed 3.1 million dollars which is guaranteed to him before a 4.9 million dollar team option is available in 2024-25. So it is quickly becoming decision time for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sam Presti, who have top-ten in the league cap space this Summer, another top-12 pick, and four selections in the 2024 NBA Draft.

After seeing the ability to improve on the defensive end, there is no question Mann could have a bounce-back. However, all that has changed this season is the expectations.

The ceiling for Tre Mann is a high-end sixth man, not much more due to his 6’3 frame and inconsistent scoring. The main issue is the Gainesville native rarely takes ill-advised shots but is still an inefficient scorer.

However, a lot of that could be simply bad luck. A whole season’s worth. As Sam Presti put it, “The regression is, okay, you have to keep pounding through this and working through it, and I think if you have the right principles, the right mentality, and the right temperament, you can work through that and become a better player and a better team as a result of that.”

It is a bit premature to give up on Tre Mann as a player, but it is also unfair to expect him to be more than a good scorer who does what is asked on the defensive end.

Tre Mann creates an elite amount of space to allow himself to get quality looks off, and when his three point shot comes back around that gravity will open up the OKC Thunder offense. Mix those two things with the few monster jams he has pulled off in his NBA career, and you can see why he was billed as a high-end scorer.

Year three will be a make-or-break campaign for the Florida product, and it seems he understands what is in front of him. A summer of progression could be just what the Doctor ordered. The most significant leap in a player’s career is commonly from years two to three. Progression isn’t linear.

Next. What should be the expectations for the OKC Thunder next season?. dark