Move over Serge Ibaka, Aleksej Pokusevski just hopped over you in the Oklahoma City Thunder record books.
The 19-year-old Serbian recorded a career-high six blocks in the Thunder’s 112-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. By doing so, he eclipsed Ibaka’s previous record of five blocked shots in his first year.
Per NBA stats, Poku is the first freshman player in Thunder history to swat more than five blocks in a game since Ibaka in the 2009-10 season.
Aleksej Pokusevski (6 BLK tonight) is the first @okcthunder rookie with 5+ BLK in a game since Serge Ibaka (5 BLK on April 14, 2010). @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/IbLbk2aIl0
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 19, 2021
A surprise pick by OKC at number 17 in the 2020 draft, Aleksej Pokusevski has turned a lot of heads as of late with his impressive play for head coach Mark Daigneault. While his gangly built leaves a lot to be desired, Poku has shown glimpses of two-way potential at the forward spot for the Thunder.
Apart from his pin-point passing and ability to stretch the floor at his height, the 7-foot Poku has proven to be a great defensive anchor for the young Thunder team. His absurd length is troublesome even for some of the best players in the league. Poku definitely made use of his physical tools against the Raptors.
Aside from his game-high six rejections, he also recorded eight points, seven rebounds and five dimes on 4-for-14 shooting from the field. However, he did struggle mightily from past the arc against Toronto after missing all eight of his 3-point attempts.
While Pokusevski is definitely a work in progress for OKC, the Thunder are surely liking what they’re seeing out of him so far. If he keeps this up, Poku will definitely be a part of the OKC core moving forward.