Grading the OKC Thunder bench players against the Dallas Mavericks.
Kansas State product and 50th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Keyontae Johnson, made his NBA debut on Saturday against the Mavericks. The OKC Thunder saw Johnson sidelined with a hamstring injury throughout the week in Salt Lake City, but he was ready to step on the hardwood as the team landed in Vegas.
In his debut, Johnson showed that eye-popping athletic ability soaring through the air to finish a lob play from fellow rookie Cason Wallace, and skying for rebounds to create possessions for Oklahoma City. Johnson finished with seven points, six rebounds, and an assist in this game.
Jared Butler continues to fight for the right to be re-signed to a two-way contract after inking one with the Thunder midway through last year. Butler has had an impressive Summer League and this game was no different. Butler finished with nine points, five assists, a rebound, and banged home three triples.
Jaden Shackelford looked like Jaden Shackelford, and this is not exactly the same compliment as it was for Jaylin Williams. Watching Jaden Shackelford play is fun! As someone who covers him in the G-League, he is a true sharpshooter in every sense. However, he is limited in every other area. This game was no different, shooting 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. Lucky for Shackelford, shooting is one of the most important modern-day skills. At this point, though, having seen his college, G-League, and Summer League career, it does not seem there is any more upside to his game.
Plowden tried really hard! That is about the extent of it for the former Pelican. He was technically sound, getting in position and playing with the energy and motor that is required of a back-of-the-bench player. Other than that, it was a relatively quiet game. Plowden’s time to prove what he can do will come this week as the Thunder begin to shut down their regular players.