OKC Thunder Rookie Creates History, Joins Kevin Durant and LeBron James in Incredible Record

Published 03/15/2021, 10:23 AM EDT
Mar 11, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski (17) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Richardson (0) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports


OKC Thunder have been one of the most surprising teams this season. When they let go off superstar Chris Paul and guard Dennis Schroder in the off-season, it seemed like the Thunder were set for the worst record in the league.

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39 games later, it clearly hasn’t been the case. Although they are nowhere near making it to the playoffs, the fact that they are matching the record of a team like New Orleans Pelicans is absolutely staggering.

Rookie joins LeBron James & Kevin Durant after record-breaking performance

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Going into the game against the Grizzlies, the Thunder were the underdog in the tie. They were missing two key starters in Darius Bazley and Lu Dort and had to play with rookie Aleksej Pokusevski and backup center Ty Jerome in the starting five.

The 7’0″ Serbian had started for the last two games as well and showed promise, scoring a total of 18 points in the two games combined. But against the Grizzlies, Pokuseveski came out all guns blazing.

In the 39 minutes he played on the court, the Serbian scored a staggering 23 points, shooting 5-8 from the three-point line.

The 19-year-old broke a host of long-standing records in the process. According to Thunder insider Brandon Rahbar, the Serbian became the youngest player in Thunder history to score 20+ points in a game, breaking Kevin Durant‘s record.

He also joined Lakers’ superstar LeBron James in a staggering record as he became the second-youngest player in NBA history to hit more than 5 threes in a game.

Pokusevski also became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 three-pointers in a game. The Serbian certainly had one of the best nights of his rookie season, and OKC will hope that the 7’0″ forward can build on this performance against the Grizzlies.

How OKC Thunder can become a Western Conference juggernaut

The Thunder have one of the most intriguing core of young players at their disposal. With an exciting young guard in SGA, and a lockdown defender in Lu Dort, the Thunder look set for the future.

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With the emergence of a good big man in Pokusevski, the Thunder are building a great team. After trading three superstars in Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, OKC have multiple trade picks.

Jan 24, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) moves the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5), guard George Hill (3) and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) during the third quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Given the plethora of picks they have, the Thunder have multiple options available in the near future. They can either draft talented players in a stacked 2021 class, or trade for superstars for a win-now move.

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If the Thunder can continue developing their young players, they can be a solid unit in a season or two. The Thunder have all the tools to have a successful rebuild. Will they capitalize on this situation?

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Aditya Mohapatra

699 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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