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Huskers in the Pros: Isaiah Roby’s NBA Season Recap

Roby’s Thunder did not make the NBA Playoffs this season, but he had a great season overall

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers only have one player currently on a NBA roster and that is Isaiah Roby with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roby was performing well at our last check-in on Feb. 1, but how did the rest of the season go and what is the outlook moving forward for the second year pro?

Roby was in his first full season with the Thunder this year after being traded by the Dallas Mavericks mid-way last season and mostly playing in the G-League before COVID-19 derailed it. While the Thunder did play in the bubble in Orlando, Roby was dealing with plantar fasciitis and did not play.

This season, he played in 61 games, starting in 34 of them, and averaged 23.4 minutes per game. The Thunder went an awful 22-50 overall on the season, dropping 22 of their final 24 games. Roby started and was 5-8 from the field, scoring 10 points, and grabbing five boards in the final game of the season, a 117-112 win over the LA Clippers who did make the playoffs.

Overall he posted solid but not great numbers. Roby averaged 8.7 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and shot 48.1 percent from the floor. His three-point shooting wasn’t great, though, at just 29.4 percent on an average of 1.8 attempts per game. He also didn’t make it to the line much, attempting just 1.9 free throws per game.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder center Isaiah Roby, right, puts up a shot past Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) during the second half.
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Roby had a few noteworthy career performances on the year. His career high in minutes came on March 21 against the Rockets when he played 34 minutes and scored 18 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished two assists, and had a block. His scoring career high came against the Magic on Dec. 29 when he notched 19 points.

Roby had a career first double-double and career high in rebounds against the Raptors on March 31 with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He also notched career high assists (7) against the Nuggets on Feb. 27, steals (4) against the Nuggets on Jan. 19, and blocks (3) against the Timberwolves on Feb. 5. Finally, he had his first NBA fine, this one totaling $2,000, on May 8 against the Golden State Warriors after incurring a technical foul.

Roby enters the off-season on the non-guaranteed portion of his contract. When he was signed to the then highest contract ever given a second rounder, Roby’s third season was set for a non-guaranteed season that will allow the Thunder to choose whether to waive him prior to the regular season’s start next year. It will also be the final year under his current contract and he could then hit free agency after next season regardless.

Hopefully there will be more Huskers to report on in the years ahead as Fred Hoiberg continues to reel in impressive talent to Lincoln during his tenure as head coach of Nebraska. In the meantime, that’s it for now.