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Caleb McConnell continues to make case for a two-way deal with OKC Thunder



The former Rutgers star continues to make winning plays in the NBA Summer League. Photo credit Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tuesday night marked Caleb McConnell’s third appearance during the NBA Summer League for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the heaviest workload he’s been given so far, the former Rutgers star showcased his ability to grind and do the little things. While he scored 6 points on just 3 of 11 shooting, McConnell stood out for making hustle plays, making good decisions and of course, suffocating defense. He grabbed 10 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive glass, along with 3 assists, a steal and a block with zero turnovers. McConnell also made several deflections on the defensive end and was his usual disruptive self.

McConnell’s done a very good job of being ready when his opportunities come. He didn’t play in the first game last week for OKC. In their second game, he finished with a rebound, an assist, and a block coming from the help side in just 8 minutes of action. The next game, McConnell finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and a block in 14 minutes of action. He was 4 of 10 from the floor, including 50% from two-point range and had just 1 turnover. His =/- of 8 was the second best on the team.

Offensively, McConnell has struggled to hit shots at times. However, his overall performance in three games has been a positive for OKC. He is proving an ability to play within himself at the next level and let the game come to him. He isn’t forcing things and focusing on what he does best. And it’s paying off.

After not playing in the last game, which happens due to the Thunder testing different player among an 18 player roster, McConnell showcased his strengths in extended action in Tuesday’s loss to the 105-92 loss to the Houston Rockets. He continues to impress Thunder beat writers, fans and basketball analysts with his spirited play.

After signing an Exhibit-10 deal following the NBA Draft in June, McConnell is fighting for a coveted two-way contract. His play so far in the Summer League has warranted serious consideration for the Thunder to sign him to that type of deal. McConnell’s next chance to make his case is Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Detroit Pistons on NBA TV.

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