3 OKC Thunder players who might not return in 2023-24 season

Lindy Waters III #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Lindy Waters III #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, #50 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, bows his head during (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was once considered a solid back-up big for the OKC Thunder, but now he is outcasted by many.

This time last year, the OKC Thunder fanbase collectively celebrated another heist that Sam Presti pulled off in the NBA Draft. Feeling good about Josh Giddey’s historic rookie season, recounting that Aaron Wiggins was the 55th overall pick though he looks like a contributor, and relieving the bucket-getting highlights from Tre Mann’s first campaign, everything felt great.

Because Jeremiah Robinson-Earl seemed to be a vital cog of the Oklahoma City Thunder rotation for years to come, the Villanova product played in 49 games as a rookie, making 36 starts and averaging seven points, five rebounds, an assist, and nearly a steal per game. In addition, Robinson-Earl posted 41 percent from the floor and 35 percent from beyond the arc.

His promising floor-spacing ability with serviceable defense, blending with his high-end playmaking, excited many fans. The Thunder hired the best shooting coach in the league with another summer of development that saw Jeremiah Robinson-Earl get noticeably bigger. That left expectations high.

Related Story. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl explains his injury. light

In year two, though, the former second-round pick took a step back, going for six points, four rebounds, and an assist per game. He improved to 44 percent from the floor but dipped to 33 percent from distance on fewer attempts per game.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl continues to struggle to finish at the rim (55 percent), from the mid-range (60 percent), on corner triples (31 percent), and non-corner three-point attempts (34 percent).

Synergy grades Robinson-Earl out to be an average defender who thrives when placed in zone concepts and actually blitzes pick-and-roll ball handlers exceptionally well.

Ultimately, Mark Daigneault and Sam Presti have stressed they want internal competition throughout this rebuild, with the understanding that not everyone will make it.

Robinson-Earl’s contract being non-guaranteed for this upcoming season and a team option the following season makes him an easy target should push come to shove. However, it is important to note how often we see a leap in years two to three instead of one to two. While also warning how the server ankle sprain hindered him since December.