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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Thunder part ways with former 1st-round pick

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Nov 20, 2010; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder logo on a players shorts during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center. The Thunder defeated the Bucks 82-81. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are parting with the greatest cult hero of 2021.

Oklahoma City announced Friday that they have waived big man Aleksej Pokusevski. The move ends Pokusevski’s tenure in OKC after four seasons.

Nicknamed “Poku,” Pokusevski was a first-round pick in 2020 (No. 17 overall) and had his rights acquired by the Thunder in a trade. He became a fan favorite of sorts in OKC because of his unique skillset for a seven-footer. As a 19-year-old rookie, Pokusevski averaged 8.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and was also hitting 1.3 triples per contest. His wiry frame (listed at a mere 190 pounds) made him even more endearing.

But Pokusevski never quite developed from there, in part because of injuries and in part because the Thunder became a contender way ahead of schedule. With OKC sitting at No. 2 in the West this season, Pokusevski had made just ten appearances all year, seeing 6.0 minutes per game in mop-up duty.

Pokusevski might still have intrigue as a dart-throw for a rebuilding team, especially since he somehow just turned 22 less than two months ago. But as the Thunder prioritize veteran complements to their young core, there is regrettably no more room in OKC for Poku.

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