With the 2014 NBA Draft approaching quickly, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be holding a number of pre-draft workouts for rookies they feel might potentially help the team and fit what the franchise are trying to do – build a championship squad.
Dwight Powell and Russ Smith worked out for the Thunder on Wednesday May 28th, while KJ McDaniels and Kyle Anderson were put through their paces over the weekend.
Let’s have a look at what these four could potentially offer the Thunder if chosen.
Dwight Powell – 6’11” / 234 lbs PF (Stanford)
When Serge Ibaka went down in the playoffs, it really showed a lack of athletic depth at the power forward position. Powell is a good sized power forward and a number of physical attributes that would be handy in the Thunder front court. While Powell hasn’t made the leap that many thought he might, he is a very serviceable big man who can play the power forward or center position. He is a low post scorer which is something the Thunder sorely miss and has a lovely hook shot from the low block.
Russ Smith – 6’1″ / 160 lbs PG (Louisville)
Another senior, Smith is a very solid point guard at the College level. He stayed and played all four years with Lousiville and developed very nicely during this time. Current the Thunder have Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson at the 1 spot, but a little depth can’t hurt – especially with Derek Fisher trading his playing shorts for dress slacks. More likely to be given some time on a summer league roster than to be drafted, but still worth keeping an eye on. His is poised with the basketball and can run an offense but isn’t a great shooter which makes you wonder where he would fit in OKC’s plans.
KJ McDaniels – 6’6″ / 196 lbs SF (Clemson)
McDaniels is fast proving himself as one of the most complete and best all around talents in the draft. He has good NBA size and a terrific wingspan which allows him to get into the passing lanes and register his fair share of steals and blocks. The Thunder could be looking at drafting him with either of their first round picks and while he might be a stretch at 21, he would be a steal at 29. The athletic wing is a blur in transition and while he can knock down the long ball, it isn’t his strength. Feet set and open he can knock it down, but otherwise he is just an average shooter. Fits the Thunder model of being able to shoot free throws though so potential is there to become a better shooter.
Kyle Anderson – 6’8″ / 230 lbs SF (UCLA)
The Oklahoma City Thunder already have an MVP at the small forward position – a guy by the name of Kevin Durant, however, Anderson might just be far too skilled to pass up if still on the board at 21. The swingman was a beast in College and his size made him a very tough cover. Athletic and skilled with a strong frame and crazy length, Anderson has all the physical attributes to be a great pro. He also has terrific footwork, an all around game and terrific court vision. He can pass the basketball better than a lot of point guards and has terrific vision. If the Thunder choose to go small and play Durant at the PF spot, then Anderson could really be an asset. He could also provide the Thunder with some firepower off the bench at the small forward spot when Durant sits. He has improved his shooting over the course of his college career and has NBA three point range at a better than average clip. Anderson could be a really great get for OKC if he is still there.
As the NBA Draft nears, we will begin to get a clearer picture of what the Thunder might intend to do and if they retain these picks, they will likely try and source some scoring and outside shooting. OKC are lucky to have two first round picks and there is plenty of talent on their radar.