When you go through the NBA mock drafts across the internet, the Oklahoma City Thunder are usually taking a big man with the Toronto Raptors‘ first round pick that they received from the Houston Rockets.
If the NBA Draft Lottery goes chalk, the Thunder will have the No. 12 pick in the draft along with the No. 29 and 31 picks.
In Chad Ford’s latest mock, he has the Thunder picking Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng.
Dieng saw his stock rise thanks to Louisville’s national championship run and a few really big games in the tournament.
Dieng proved himself as a very good passer for a big man. He’s also a great defender who can block a lot of shots.
Previous mock drafts had the Thunder taking Alex Len of Maryland or Cody Zeller of Indiana with this pick. But in this mock, Ford now has Len and Zeller getting picked before the Thunder’s pick.
I don’t see why the Thunder would settle for Dieng at this spot. With all of the picks at their disposal, the Thunder will be able to move up in this draft a few spots maybe near the top five to get a guy they like.
They could also trade back if they don’t like anyone. This draft of course has the reputation of being a very weak one.
The main reason the Thunder would be in the market for another big man is the looming inevitable amnestying of Kendrick Perkins that just feels like it must happen by next season.
The Thunder will need to replace Perkins in the starting lineup and increase their big man depth. It’s actually hard to imagine Dieng, Len or Zeller getting run to start the season over Hasheem Thabeet.
Whoever the Thunder pick, has a better chance than anything to be playing the entire 2013-14 season with the Tulsa 66ers.
The Thunder may not be considering replacing Perkins with another big center either. OKC could commit more to small lineups and feel like Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Thabeet is enough depth. Perry Jones, III could slide into the bigs rotation as a stretch four too.
The draft will be exciting for the Thunder this year. They have a ton of possibilities at their disposal with all of the picks they possess.