Grading the OKC Thunder starters en route to an impressive win over the Utah Jazz.
Jalen Williams was runner-up for Rookie of the Yeah in the 2022-23 NBA season, and typically a Sophomore of his caliber do not participate in Summer League. However, as Josh Giddey did last year, Williams elected to play and did not disappoint. The Santa Clara product was clearly the best player on the floor against the Utah Jazz. Despite being a go-to scorer, Williams continued to impress with his efficiency turning in 21 points, four rebounds, and two assists while shooting 57% from the floor and going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Chet Holmgren with the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Holmgren dominated Summer League a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury at a pro-am event in August. Holmgren is back in Salt Lake City a year later to redo his rookie season.
Tonight, Chet Holmgren looked a bit rusty in the first court, which is to be expected, with most of his shots falling short. However, after he sunk his first bucket, Holmgren quickly settled in. The Gonzaga product swatted away four shots offering supreme rim protection, which OKC desperately needed a year ago. Holmgren also gobbled up nine rebounds, seven of which came on the defensive end to shut down Jazz possessions.
On the offensive end, Holmgren posted 15 points, shooting 43 percent from the floor. The biggest note of his offensive game is the gravity he provides. Watching the Jazz defenders fly out to the perimeter as Holmgren catches the ball allows you to visualize the spacing he creates for the Thunder…Which will make everyone’s life easier.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a roster packed to the gills, with 20 players currently in Bricktown (including 19 standard deals, the team will have to part with four standard deals before the regular season gets underway in October. Former first-round pick Tre Mann is one of the names on the chopping block this summer.
Mann struggled to score a year ago, which was his selling point as a rookie. As visions of the Florida product being this microwave bench scorer danced in fans’ heads like one of his highlight reel step-backs, the shots simply did not fall for Mann. Even when the process of getting to those attempts looked good, he just could not put the pumpkin in the patch.
Tonight, Tre Mann turned in 20 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and swiped a trio of steals. His night also includes one of the best dunks you will ever see. Mann converted on 46% percent of his shots from the floor, including 50% from beyond the arc on eight attempts.
Fans will understandably scramble, falling all over themselves, to point out this is just Summer League. However, it is important to note this is Mann’s third Summer League session, and in the previous two, he did not look particularly good even in this environment. Tonight was progress for the young guard. Progress that he must build on throughout the summer.
It pains me not to hand out another A to the Arkansas big man, so consider this an 89% on the report card. Jaylin Williams checked many boxes tonight, including sustaining his elite charge drawling ability to the tune of three charges tonight. Williams was able to show off impressive footwork staying in front of post players and contesting at the cup tonight.
With that defensive impact came 13 rebounds, 11 of which came on the defensive end, and an acrobatic layup which is becoming a common practice for 2022 second-round pick. Perhaps the only thing holding this grade back is the fact we did not get a three-point attempt. I miss hearing him scream boom, okay?
It was almost all sunshine and rainbows for the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Especially in the starting five, but second-year forward Ousmane Dieng struggled a bit in the first game of the Summer. The former New Zealand Breaker has had an interesting start to his career. Last Summer, a wrist injury cut his Summer League action short. Then, as he hit his stride during the regular season, Dieng suffered a separate wrist injury.
Despite the injuries, as Dieng bounced back and forth between the NBA and G-League, he played to the expectation of a project forward with a focus on the defensive end. Ousmane Dieng has spent the offseason working on his game in Oklahoma City, including some time with Chip Engelland.
This summer, everyone was expecting to see a different version of Dieng. These things take time, especially when you are just 20 years old. The main issue with Dieng has been his lack of aggression. While that was a bit better than a few months ago, there is still a way to go for Dieng in that department.
Ousmane Dieng finished with four points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block while shooting 1-for-11 from the floor. The key with Dieng is patience. Hopefully, a bounce-back game is in order for Wednesday night.