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Thunder Prospect Rankings: 2021 Summer League

Thunder Prospect Rankings: 2021 Summer League

Thunder prospect rankings are back following an interesting few games of Summer League in Las Vegas.

As a reminder, these rankings are fluid — especially in the bottom half. During the season, these will be updated semi-regularly as more data becomes available.

Arbitrary rules for inclusion: Players must be on their rookie contracts or under the age of 25. That’s why Lu Dort is on this list and Kenrich Williams is not.

Link to previous rankings: 2021 NBA Draft

Without further adieu…

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

No change here. He is OKC’s best chance at contending in the (relatively) near future.

Previous ranking: 1

  1. Lu Dort

Dort’s ceiling remains lower than other players on this list, but the likelihood that he’ll reach his potential — whatever that may be — is extremely high. As is, he’s a starter-quality player on a contender.

Previous ranking: 2

  1. Josh Giddey

That was a great dunk, right? Giddey only played in five minutes of Summer League due to an ankle injury, so I’m keeping him in the same spot I had him pre-Summer League. I think we’ll know a lot more about Giddey’s trajectory after a couple months of regular season basketball.

Previous ranking: 3

  1. Aleksej Pokusevski

If this was a pure upside ranking, Poku would be No. 2 on this list. But he sits at No. 4 for now because of how far he still has to go to reach his ceiling. If Poku has a successful season, I think he’ll be No. 2 on this list by the All Star break.

Previous ranking: 4

  1. Tre Mann

If you just look at the numbers, Mann was disappointing in Las Vegas last week. But the tape shows that he repeatedly created quality looks for himself — they just didn’t go down. I’m not worried about his ability to shoot it once he gets comfortable with the speed of an NBA game, so he sticks at No. 5.

Previous ranking: 5

  1. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

We’ve officially left the tier of players who theoretically could have All-Star upside, so I’m going with a potential high-end role player here in JRE. He showed a lot of potential as a small ball 5 in Vegas, and he made 33.3 percent of his 3-pointers — a step in the right direction from beyond the arc.

This is admittedly reactionary, but I do like JRE’s floor as a contributing role player quite a bit. I value his versatility over players like Ty Jerome and Theo Maledon and I think his development is more of a sure thing than Darius Bazley’s. I think all four of those players could reasonably be ranked in any order, I just prefer JRE at this stage.

Previous ranking: 9

  1. Ty Jerome

Jerome back just one spot to make room for JRE. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded this offseason to a team that could use another floor spacer off the bench. Definitely think he’ll be able to play in a playoff rotation at some point.

Previous ranking: 6

  1. Darius Bazley 

Bazley sticks at No. 8, leapfrogging Theo Maledon. I’m still not sure what to do with Bazley after his disappointing season last year, but I think there’s an easier path to minutes for him than there is for Theo.

Previous ranking: 8

  1. Theo Maledon

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Theo Maledon was disappointing in Summer League. As a second-year point guard, I expected a big week from him. But outside of a nice opening night, it was a poor showing for him. He shot 33.3 percent from the field and only got to the free throw line twice per game. He did appear to be much bulkier, which could help during the regular season. But his week in Vegas was a step in the wrong direction.

Previous ranking: 7

  1. Isaiah Roby

This is the start of the final tier for OKC. Roby proved he could do some things well last year, and I’d rather him start at center than Derrick Favors (although it should be JRE at this point). I don’t think there’s much starter upside here, but maybe he could make a leap this season.

Previous ranking: 10

  1. Aaron Wiggins

Aaron Wiggins looked good, but not great, in Las Vegas. I expect him to spend a lot of time with the OKC Blue, at least before the All Star Break.

Previous ranking: 11

  1. Josh Hall

Hall appeared to be significantly bigger during his time in Vegas, which should help tremendously in his development. He’s still very raw and a fringe prospect, though. A good developmental goal for him this year would be to figure out what specific skills/traits he has that will translate at the NBA level.

Previous ranking: 12