Thunder Notes: Holmgren, Pokusevski, SGA, Sefolosha

The presence of 7’1″ rookie Chet Holmgren has added a lob threat to the Thunder‘s offense, writes Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman. By December, the team had already thrown more lobs than it did all of last season, when Holmgren was sidelined with a foot injury. The ability to target Holmgren around the rim gives opposing defenses one more weapon to worry about.

“It’s something we’ve definitely tried to highlight, especially against switches,” coach Mark Daigneault said. “If they’re gonna put a smaller guy on him and switch him, we have to throw the ball up to him.” 

Holmgren had to learn how to establish position in the post before the lob game became effective, Lorenzi adds. He’s grown more comfortable as the season has worn on, and his teammates have figured out the best ways to get the ball to him.

“Just trusting the process of things,” Holmgren said. “Knowing that not everything is gonna be perfect from Day 1. … We have a lot to work on outside of being better at throwing lobs, catching lobs, playing out of actions that lead to lobs. We just got to continue to work at everything.”

There’s more from Oklahoma City:

  • Even though the Thunder decided to waive Aleksej Pokusevski this week, Daigneault is proud of how the forward developed his skills during his time with the organization, Lorenzi tweets. “(When he was drafted) I didn’t think he really had a great understanding of his own game as a professional player,” Daigneault said. “… Three and a half years later, I think he’s improved in all those things. And that’s what we want to be about.” 
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN looks back at the 2019 trade that sent Paul George to the Clippers in exchange for a package that included Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. McMahon states that general manager Sam Presti‘s insistence that SGA be included may have set up the next NBA dynasty. “I didn’t see it coming,” Gilgeous-Alexander recalled. “I’m not like, ‘Why would you do that?’ It made sense. I think Paul just came off like an MVP-caliber year. … I used it a little bit as motivation just to get better and really turn myself into that caliber of player.”
  • Thabo Sefolosha, who was part of the greatest seasons in Thunder history, sees similarities between his teams and the current roster, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “I see a lot of what we had, people not expecting them to be this good,” said Sefolosha, who was a guest at Friday’s game as part of Thunder Legacy Weekend. “Super-competitive team. Extremely talented. Credit to Sam. He finds a way. You cannot doubt the man.” 
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