By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Pokusevski, 19, set a franchise record for the most blocks by a rookie in a single game with six against the Toronto Raptors, per Elias Sports. Serge Ibaka had set the mark at five late in the 2009-10 NBA Regular Season. Pokusevski additionally recorded eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists over 28 minutes.
The Serbian youngster was selected with the 17th overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft. He exceeded most expectations then and has kept doing so through his rookie season. In 33 appearances, including 16 starts, he has averaged 7.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 blocks, and 0.4 steals per contest.
Pokusevski, prior to his NBA jump, was attached to Olympiacos but rarely featured on the senior team. After joining the Thunder, he was sent on assignment at the Oklahoma City Blue. He had 11.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 steals per match in the Florida bubble.
“Finding my pace on offense and still playing hard, competing in every game and just finding my pace with the ball on the offensive end,” he had said describing his G League experience, “Just getting more comfortable with the ball and learning the pace of the game in America.”
He certainly settled in nicely earning his first start on March 14, shortly after being recalled by Thunder. In the very strong stretch since, he has posted 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 blocks per contest leading up to his record-breaking performance in the loss to the Raptors.
Besides the Thunder record, his six blocks were the most by any NBA rookie this season. He also became the first NBA rookie since 2004 with at least five points, five assists, five rebounds, and five blocks in a single game.
Taking into account him missing the last three games after an early exit versus the Philadelphia 76ers last week due to arm soreness, his effort on Sunday looks even more impressive. One thing for certain, the future is bright for Pokusevski.
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