Why Tre Mann’s Summer League was so important

Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Tre Mann with the 18th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Florida product had an impressive rookie campaign, leading to many believing he would be an electric sixth man of the future and some thinking he could be a bucket-getting starter.

After a rookie season that featured seven 20-plus point games, including a 35-point outburst against the Boston Celtics on March 21st, 2021, which was a nine-point loss for the Thunder, Mann turned in 35 points on 62 percent shooting from the floor, 58 percent from beyond the arc on a jaw-dropping 12 attempts per game. He had his first 30-point game against the Knicks when Josh Giddey posted a triple-double in Madison Square Garden as the OKC Thunder knocked off the New York Knicks.

While many expected big things from Mann in year two, especially after his stellar preseason, the Sophomore guard fell flat. Despite playing in seven more games in year two, his minutes per game dipped below 20, and he became less efficient from beyond the arc on fewer attempts and remained below 40 percent from the floor.

The OKC Thunder saw Tre Mann have a breakout Summer League campaign, which is why it should not be overlooked.

After a disappointing year two, many are ready to shove the former first-round pick out the door. The OKC Thunder have a massive roster crunch ahead thanks to them carrying 21 players, and when trying to peg the five standard contracts OKC has to cut, it is easy to throw the Florida product in the mix.

This Summer, Tre Mann was an interesting addition to the Summer League roster as a year three guard. He started it out with a bang, turning in the dunk of the year on night one and eventually averaging 20 points, four rebounds, three assists, nearly two steals, and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. Mann also posted 53 percent shooting from the floor, an extremely effective four-game stretch.

Skeptics will rightfully point out that “it is just Summer League!” which is correct. It is just Summer League, but context matters. Last Summer, Tre Mann scored 11 points on 28 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the arc while turning the ball over twice per game.

It is not as though Tre Mann has historically lit up Summer League; even as a rookie, he averaged nine points on 24 percent shooting and two turnovers in two Summer League games. One lesser setting where Mann has lit it up is when the organization has sent him to the OKC Blue in an attempt to jump-start his season. In the Vegas showcase this past December, Mann turned in a 40-point performance that many expected to spark an NBA resurgence, but ultimately, he could never get it going.

With Tre Mann on the roster bubble, he needed this supreme Summer to pop. He did his job. He looked improved on defense, tried his hand at facilitating, and dominated at the rim, shooting 73 percent at the cup. With five roster cuts to make and the fact the OKC Thunder have already invested a first-round pick in Mann, it could be enough to etch his name on the opening night roster.

With a strong training camp, Mann should be able to hang around in Bricktown. If nothing else, Tre Mann has improved his value around the league to the point that a guard-needy team might check in on his availability.

While it is “just Summer League,” sometimes valuable findings exist. Tre Mann rehabbing some of his value is one of those important markers.

The OKC Thunder do not have too many picks. dark. Next