OKC Thunder Player Grades: Cason Wallace aces first exam

Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Cason Wallace #22 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images) /
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The OKC Thunder topped the Dallas Mavericks in their 2023 Vegas Summer League opener. Cason Wallace set the Oklahoma City Thunder fanbase on fire during the first half of his NBA debut. The OKC Thunder rolled out a lineup many would call “unfair” with such a talent-rich Summer squad. Cason Wallace, Tre Mann, Ousmane Dieng, Jaylin Williams, and Chet Holmgren gave OKC four first-round picks, three of whom were selected in the lottery, and a play-in starting big man from a year ago on the Vegas floor. Unsurprisingly, as the game went along, the OKC Thunder eventually gained control and overpowered the Dallas Mavericks.

This Mavericks team was no slouch, boasting Dereck Lively II, who was traded on draft night for Wallace, Olivier-Maxwell Prosper, Jaden Hardy, and a few interesting undrafted players such as AJ Lawson and Mike Miles.

OKC Thunder Game Grades: Cason Wallace dominates his debut as the Thunder down the Mavericks.

The Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Dallas Mavericks 91-80 on Saturday with seven lead changes, four ties, and the Mavericks winning the battle on the glass by four. The Thunder gained separation from the Mavs by shooting the three ball at a 44 percent clip compared to the lowly 29 percent Dallas turned in.

Despite Jaden Hardy’s 24 points, Dallas could not pull this game out after a relatively quiet day from rookie big man Dereck Lively II. That should not concern the Mavs; it is typical for first-year big men to struggle to make a strong day-one impact. How did the OKC Thunder do in this contest?  Let’s start by grading the starters.