The Oklahoma City Thunder pride themselves in bringing high quality people and players into the organization. As Sam Presti said at a press conference, ‘We draft people first, players second.”
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (JRE), a talented big out of Villanova, fits that description to a “T”. He’s a guy you’d be proud to have representing your organization; a team first guy, willing to do whatever’s necessary to help the team.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, reigning Co Big East Player of the Year, was selected with the 32nd Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Oklahoma City traded their 34th and 36th picks in the Draft in order to move up and select him. That the Thunder surrendered this much just to move up a couple of spots, speaks volumes about how highly they viewed JRE, and how much they wanted to ensure that they “got their guy”.
On the court, JRE also embodies the new direction OKC has been going stylistically. Under Coach Daigneault, the team has prioritized players who demonstrate high basketball IQ, positional flexibility, ball handling, and the ability to space the floor with perimeter shooting. JRE, at Vegas Summer League, deftly displayed these traits.
His ability to help facilitate the offense, reliably defend bigger players, and shoot from the 3-point line particularly stood out during OKC’s stay in Vegas. Built strong, but nimble footed enough to cover ground defensively, JRE gives the Thunder a true stretch five in small ball lineups.
The more I watched JRE play during Summer League, the more he reminded me of Thunder legend Nick Collison, (Mr. Thunder). Both are highly cerebral players, always looking to make the right pass, doing the gritty work on the court, and able to step out and take threes. Add in the fact that both are upstanding individuals off the court, and the comparison really sticks.
As OKC really kicks the rebuild into full gear, JRE has the opportunity to truly cement himself as a Thunder mainstay for years to come.