Grading the OKC Thunder bench vs. the Utah Jazz.
Jared Butler had a good ole fashion revenge game against the Utah Jazz, who selected him with the 40th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. A draft cycle in which he was once considered a sure-fire first round pick. Mid-way through last season, Butler earned his way onto a two-way contract for the OKC Thunder. Now, he is an unrestricted free agent playing with the team at NBA Summer League.
Butler showed flashes in his game (including a nifty reverse lay-up!) on his way to 10 points, a rebound, an assist, and a steal in this contest. While the Baylor product shot 43% from the floor and went 1-for-4 from distance, the glaring issue was the turnovers. The only flaw for Oklahoma City tonight was their 19 turnovers as a team, five of which came from Jared Butler.
While this was not a bad game by any stretch from Butler, there are things to clean up.
The OKC Thunder invited Jaden Shackelford to play for their Summer League roster after carving it up with the organization’s G-League affiliate, the OKC Blue. With the Blue, Shackelford was a sharpshooter, and that carried into Salt Lake City.
Jaden Shackelford splashed a trio of triples, including a four-point play, five rebounds, an assist, and a steal, on his way to 11 points in 22 minutes. The OKC Blue Guard looked comfortable in this Summer League setting.
Hunter Maldonado is an undrafted rookie who played six seasons of college basketball at Wyoming turning in 28 percent from beyond the arc, 13 rebounds, five rebounds, and four assists per game for his college career.
The Oklahoma City Thunder worked him out pre-draft before signing him to play in Summer League. In this one, Maldonado earned 13 minutes of playing time for the OKC Thunder, where he looked extremely comfortable. Being 24 certainly helps Maldonado settle into the game much faster than other prospects.
In this contest, the 6’7 forward hit a triple on his way to five points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal. That is a highly impactful 13 minutes, and given the expectations for Maldonado coming into the night, it justifies the A+ grade.
Up next, the Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, July 5th, at 6 p.m. central on NBATV.