Kevin Hervey, OKC Thunder (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Youngsters will play a greater role in the new era OKC Thunder so we dove into the Summer League film room for insights and Kevin Hervey stood out.
As OKC Thunder General Manager, Sam Presti spearheads the future and launches the new era of the organization the youth become a priority.
Familiar faces Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson, Dennis Schroder, Hamidou Diallo, Nerlens Noel, and Patrick Patterson are back. And, Andre Roberson is expected to make his return to the hardwood after missing a season and a half. Mike Muscala acquired in free agency will also don the OKC Thunder jersey this season.
As for the remaining roster spots, there will be more familiar faces who received meager playing time last season like Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton. This season it’s expected those youngsters and the ones who’ll augment the remainder of the varsity roster and will play a much greater role on the team.
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This, partially because it’s anticipated additional trades will occur as Sam Presti moves players to get further below the salary cap. Moreover, the brain trust is anxious for these youngsters to expedite their growth which is best achieved via playing time and experience.
To that end, the youngsters are expected to gain more consistent minutes this season especially as additional trades happen. With that in mind, the final player TI looked at in the Summer League film room is the player who made the greatest mark for the Thunder in Vegas – Kevin Hervey.
This was the only game the OKC Thunder lost in Vegas and much of that could be offset by the fact the Jazz arrived having just finished a mini tournament and already were functioning in rhythm.
In the OKC Thunder first outing in Vegas, the team struggled from the perimeter shooting an absolutely abysmal 19.2 percent from the perimeter on 5 of 26 shooting. Of those five made triples Kevin Hervey connected on three and his form looked solid as it did in this particular shot.
Right from the tip in Game 2, the OKC Thunder jumped on the 76ers building a lead which ballooned to 18-3 in the blink of an eye. Hervey who had showcased his scoring the game prior brought out his defense in this match with a key block early in the contest.
The versatility in Hervey’s arsenal was on full display throughout the tournament. One such example was this play from Game 3 where Hervey capitalizes on reading the floor driving in and making a difficult flip shot look simple.
Stick-to-it-ive-ness was on display in this play versus Team Croatia. Although Hervey missed the initial shot in close, he got his own rebound, fought off three defenders and rose back up to put the shot away.
Watching Kevin Hervey shooting from the perimeter his form and fundamentals on the shot are smooth and within a natural motion. The issue for Hervey seems to be his confidence as one game he’ll hit everything and then the next game his shot seems off.
Still, he got up 6.2 attempts per game throughout the tournament (which was the most on the Thunder) and shot 32 percent. Although two other players registered better efficiency they took a third fewer attempts than Hervey.
Again in the clip below Hervey demonstrates his focus and staying with the play. In this instance, a free throw is missed the Blazers grab the rebound but fumble the ball and Hervey swoops in to grab it and put away the easy dunk.
Although that seems like a simple thing to do – so many young players don’t stay engaged throughout the contest but Hervey is always dialed in.
Another made 3-pointer and while the form is perfect his follow through remains consistent and he keeps the hand hoisted with the gooseneck in place.
An almost exact replica mirror image of the prior clip Hervey pulls up this time on the left side and again nails the 3-pointer. Again, check out Deonte Burton’s ability to draw defenders and gauge who on the court is open for the best shot on the floor. This pair works well with each other and is something to keep an eye on moving forward with the reserve unit.
In virtually every game Kevin Hervey hit the court he did something to draw our attention. Whether he was hitting from the perimeter, rebounding, defending or involving his teammates he made a mark.
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In four games at the Summer League his four game stats average were palpable with a double-double average of 15.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, along with 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.5 blocks. As for his shooting splits he shot 43.3 percent from the field, 32.0 from deep and 73.3 percent from the line.
Hervey led his summer league squad in points, rebounds and blocks was second in steals and fourth in assists. Considering how well Diallo played in Vegas consider the comparison which finds Hamidou second behind Hervey in scoring although he averaged more minutes per game and took an additional 1.5 shots on average.
If Summer League was the first test Kevin Hervey has given Sam Presti good reason to give him consistent minutes and an opportunity with the varsity team. The unknown is whether Hervey can translate this production at the pro level. But, he’s certainly given the brain trust reason to give him the chance.
The roster in its current iteration features Danilo Gallinari in the starting power forward role and Patrick Patterson as a backup with Mike Muscala capable of playing either forward role. Assuming Hervey makes the varsity roster the key will be for Hervey to produce in whatever minutes he’s afforded and practice patience.
Odds are not all three of the players above will finish the season on the roster and even so there should be an opportunity for Hervey.