Eight games into the 2021-22 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder are still trying to find their best rotation.

Really only Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Josh Giddey, Darius Bazley and Kenrich Williams have nailed down roles so far this season, as the center spot has been a revolving door.

But perhaps the most interesting position battle has shaped up to be the one between Ty Jerome and Theo Maledon for who should run the second unit at point guard.

So far this season, both guys have gotten close to the same minutes per game, with Maledon logging 15.1 minutes per game and Jerome getting 15.0 minutes per game. Jerome has played in five of the eight games, however, a healthy scratch in three contests.

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And though Maledon has appeared in all eight games this season, the second-year guard has carried his struggles from Summer League play into the regular season.

Maledon has averaged 2.5 points per game on 24.1 percent shooting, including knocking down just 16.7 percent of his attempts from 3-point range. The Frenchman has been a positive on the boards, pulling down 2.0 rebounds per game, but he’s struggled in all other areas, adding just 1.4 assists and 0.3 rebounds per game while turning the ball over 1.4 times per game.

In contrast, Jerome has grabbed 1.4 boards a game while adding 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals and only turning the ball over 0.6 times per contest.

Jerome has looked much more comfortable running the Thunder offense, and his deep shooting threat is something opposing teams have to respect.

No game displayed Jerome’s upside more than his second quarter contributions against the Lakers on Thursday night.

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault turned to Jerome as the game was slipping away from OKC in the second quarter, and he delivered.

Jerome scored 10 points over the final three and a half minutes of the first half, helping to cut what was once a 19-point deficit down to just four points by halftime.

The former Virginia guard’s understanding of the offense just hasn’t been matched at a consistent level by Maledon, and he should get a majority of the minutes pulling the strings for the OKC bench.

Maledon still has plenty of time to improve, but the Thunder should roll with their best pieces for the future, regardless of if they were initially drafted by the organization or not.

To this point, Jerome has looked like a guy who could be a positive for Oklahoma City off the bench in the future night-in and night-out, whereas Maledon hasn’t played to those levels to date. 


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