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Thunder Journal: Tre’s the Mann

Thunder Journal: Tre’s the Mann

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Tre Mann had his long awaited and highly inevitable breakout game on Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks. The rookie poured in 29 points, drained an eye-opening six of eight three-pointers and juked Luka Doncic out of the American Airlines Center all the way to AT&T Stadium.

The next day, he celebrated his 21st birthday. I guess you could say Tre went from being a Boy(z) II Mann.

The 18th pick of the 2021 NBA Draft has started the last three games for the Thunder and with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on ice until at least the All-Star Break, Mann’s hold on the starting shooting guard spot is likely to continue. Over those three contests, two of them wins, the 6’5” former Gator is averaging 17 points and has knocked down 11 of 21 shots from long distance.

While many fans seem to be surprised at the sudden offensive outburst, Mann’s scoring ability has always been special. Coming out of The Villages Charter Schools in Florida, he averaged 23.6 points his senior season. Mann was a five-star recruit, a McDonald’s All American and received offers from the likes of North Carolina, Tennessee and Kansas before deciding to stay home. While he struggled his freshman season at Florida, Mann proved why he was considered the best high school recruit in The Sunshine State in his second year. Tre averaged 16 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 40.2% from three on 4.7 attempts per game.

Coming into the 2021 NBA Draft, Mann was considered one of the best shooters, scorers and shot creators of his class. The Athletic’s draft guru Sam Vecenie ranked Tre the #1 pull-up shooter with the #2 floater in the draft.

“Mann is just an absolute monster out of pull-ups. He just has a ridiculous amount of moves in his bag… with nearly unlimited range,” Vecenie said of Mann leading up to the draft.

So how did a former high school phenom, five-star recruit and one of the best scorers and shooters of his class fall all the way to the #18 pick? Hilariously, the knock on Mann was a supposed lack of athleticism. Tre didn’t dunk one single time in his college career. Well, less than two months into his NBA career, Mann did his best prime Russell Westbrook impression vs the Lakers and posterized Wayne Ellington for a Dunk of the Year nominee.

Despite scouts missing the mark on Mann’s bounce, his elite scoring and shooting probably should’ve made him a lottery pick regardless. Here’s how Tre stacks up against all the big name 3-point shooters taken before him in the 2021 NBA Draft 50 games into their rookie seasons:

Tre Mann 39%

Joshua Primo 38%

Chris Duarte 35.5%

Franz Wagner 35%

Tre Murphy 34.3%

James Bouknight 34.1%

Cade Cunningham 32.8%

Corey Kispert 32.6%

Moses Moody 28.6%

Jalen Green 29.1%

Jalen Suggs 23.9%

It gets even better. Mann had a historically high self-created 3-point percentage in college because he was the Gators’ only offensive threat. He had very few catch and shoot opportunities. But playing with Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been a game changer. Here’s the best catch and shoot 3-point shooters so far in the NBA this season:

1. Zach Lavine: 48.2%

2. Keldon Johnson: 47.2%

3. Tre Mann: 47.1%

4. Joe Harris: 46.9%

5. DJ Augustin: 46.9%

The biggest weakness for this team is a lack of shooting. It’s a story old as time. Going forward in this new era of Thunder basketball, an emphasis will be placed on players who can knock down shots. And so far it seems OKC landed one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the 2021 Draft.

Tre had his coming out party Wednesday night and celebrated his birthday last night. Can’t wait to see what Mann has planned for the Blazers tonight.

Next Up: In his first two games assuming lead creator duties in SGA’s absence, the Thunder are a jaw-dropping +23.3/-15.1 NRTG when Josh Giddey is on/off the court. Think Portland’s gonna slow him down?