While the NBA Finals are still taking place (for now at least) many teams are already looking to the 2014 NBA Draft and how they can get involved, improve their roster and get the best pieces possible for their franchise. The Oklahoma City Thunder are not different.
The NBA season came to an earlier end than they would have liked, but now that the dust has settled, the exit interviews have been conducted, the focus shifts firmly to the draft. With two first round picks, the Thunder have every reason to be excited too.
Whether it be Kristaps Porzingis – full story HERE – or any number of other talents in the draft, the Thunder have a few areas of improvement that can be addressed with solid draft choices. Let’s have a look at a couple of key needs the Thunder have.
1. Outside shooting and bench scoring.
It looks as though Reggie Jackson is going to spend more and more time on the floor alongside Russell Westbrook and will likely be starting OR playing upwards of 30 minutes a night anyway. This means that the OKC bench loses a big chunk of its firepower. The Thunder will be hoping that Jeremy Lamb can fill some of this void, but there will also need to be some additional assistance. With a number of talented swingmen in this draft, the Thunder could use their picks to acquire the services of a shooting guard with three point range and solid defense
(Potential draftees: Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, PJ Hairston, Zach Lavine, Glen Robinson III, KJ McDaniels)
2. Frontcourt size and scoring
When Serge Ibaka’s calf decided to cause the Thunder some problems, it highlighted the lack of depth in the frontcourt. While rookie Steven Adams is developing nicely into an athletic big man who can bang down low, block shots and rebound, there isn’t a lot of offensive production from the center spot. The Thunder could try and draft a big man to play the power forward and center spot, someone with energy, effort and decent offensive game. There are a couple of them in this years draft and they might just slip to the Thunder in the mid – late 20′s.
(Potential draft targets: Cleanthony Early, Clint Capela, Kristaps Porzingas, Jerami Grant)
3. Point guard reprieve
It is amazing that the Thunder could be looking at drafting another point guard when they already have Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson on the squad, but with the departure of Derek Fisher (and the changing role and rotations of Jackson) the Thunder now find themselves without a third string PG to play any decent minutes and to run the second unit. Late first round options are plentiful, but the Thunder will be trying to secure someone with a high basketball IQ as well as the ability to run a team and score the basketball. They can afford to be selective and if the right piece isn’t available, move on to another draft strategy.
(Potential point guard options: Shabazz Napier, Russ Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jordan Clarkson, Markel Brown)
Where do you think the Thunder can improve in this years draft? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!