The 2014 NBA Draft is nearly here and there is plenty to think about if you are a Thunder fan. The Oklahoma City Thunder franchise has two first round draft picks (21 and 29) which could prove valuable for a number of reasons. The ability to land a talented young player late in the first round is nothing new to the Thunder and they will plan on doing it again this time around.
The biggest question remains around what type of player to pick.
There is little denying that the Thunder are fairly thin on the front line and with Nick Collison entering the twilight of his career, securing the services of another power forward would be very smart, however after the exit interview of back up point guard and 6th man extraordinaire the Thunder might decide that finding a talented young point guard who can shoot the ball and run a team a more valuable selection.
Most of the better power forwards in this draft will be snapped up in the lottery. Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon won’t make it to double digits on the draft board, but there are some valuable point guard options that the Thunder could look at if they believe Jackson is on his way out.
This is all just speculation of course, but the undertones in Jackson’s comments can’t be ignored if you are Sam Presti. Jackson pulled no punches when he said he wanted to start and have the ball in his hands to run things – but the Thunder really have Russell Westbrook for that. Unless Jackson is happy playing alongside Westbrook and also running the second unit while playing 30+ valuable minutes per game, he might bolt after this year for a better opportunity. We have seen it happen all to often before and this draft might provide the Thunder with a very solid contingency plan.
Shabazz Napier, Elfrid Payton and Tyler Ennis might all be available when the Thunder are on the clock with pick 21 (assuming they keep both picks, keep this pick, don’t move up – heck, who knows WHAT might happen between now and then!!!) giving OKC plenty to think about. There is also talk of Spencer Dinwiddie making his way into the late first round after he slipped due to a one-and-done college campaign and and ACL injury.
Sam Presti has always proven to be thinking long term. While the Thunder need outside shooting and defensive assistance right now, they might be able to get that via free agency, trade or through the development of the talent on the roster like Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Roberson. However, if Jackson doesn’t want to continue with OKC, the retirement of Derek Fisher means the Thunder are stuck without a backup point guard.
Thunder fans, make sure you tune in to the 2014 NBA Draft, and follow us in the lead up to that eventful evening. Something tells us, there is going to be a lot to think and talk about.