Damian Lillard thinks one non-rotational OKC Thunder player is primed to break out

Nov 30, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up
Nov 30, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up / Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder own a top three record in the Western Conference, sitting at 12-6. The Thunder have won seven of their last ten games, and there is a lot of optimism around the Bricktown boys this season.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing at an MVP level, Chet Holmgren stealing headlines as a rookie, and Jalen Williams picking up right where he left off, it is easy to see how the Thunder have been successful. Not to mention Isaiah Joe's shooting ability or Cason Wallace's rookie breakout.

Given the number of draft picks the Thunder have already seen come in and are still owed to them in the future, Oklahoma City has an embarrassment of riches. There are some quality players that have not been able to crack Mark Daigneault's rotation 18 games into the season.

The OKC Thunder have not been able to get Tre Mann into the rotation this season, Damian Lillard thinks the Florida product is primed for a breakout.

One of the players who has yet to crack Mark Daigneault's rotation is Tre Mann. He is not far removed from being the 18th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and featured in the starting lineup for Oklahoma City.

Now, Mann is relegated to only playing during garbage times of a game, when the contest is out of hand one way or the other. However, if you stay glued to the action during these Mann minutes, it is evident his playmaking has truly improved, and he is converting at all three levels at a much better clip.

Damian Lillard went on the KnuckleHeads Podcast to discuss all things in his basketball journey, including his annual pro camp. Lillard each offseason holds a camp with young NBA players to workout and help foster development.

Lillard gave high praise to OKC Thunder guard Tre Mann, "I don't know if it is going to be in Oklahoma City, but where he is at, Tre Mann is going to be nice...When he gets an opportunity somewhere, I am telling you, Tre Mann is nice."

The superstar guard said he reminds him of Anfernee Simons, the Portland product who spent last season averaging 21 points, two rebounds, and four assists per game.

Tre Mann is a special creator who has the perfect blend of burst, balance, and shiftiness to get past defenders. Converting after creating space is the next step in Mann's game. That area seems to have improved, though no one will write home about the end of game chances the Florida product is getting.

While I still believe the 22-year-old guard can help Oklahoma City, especially when the offense sputters, it certainly seems likely his best opportunity will be with a different organization given his lack of playing time in Bricktown.

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