2018 NBA Draft Roundup: a look back at the process, event and selections

NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 21: NBA draft 2018 in Barclays Center in New York, United States on June 21, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JUNE 21: NBA draft 2018 in Barclays Center in New York, United States on June 21, 2018. (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder entered NBA Draft night with a pair of late second round picks and exited with three potential contributors.

Almost two months ago (April 28)  the OKC Thunder season ended with an early first round playoff exit. Since then emphasis shifted to the NBA Draft. Despite OKC’s positioning late in the second round TI’s writing team dove in head first. After all Sam Presti has a history of doing the unexpected.

As it turns out this sentiment was true of the 2018 NBA Draft. Partly because Presti didn’t pair his picks to move up and partly because he pulled off a last minute trade to complete the action from the event.

The 60 Prospects:

Heading into the event the TI team dove in to the top 60 projected prospects. Despite  OKC’s picks occurring at 53 and 57 our team considered all the prospects. For one thing it was plausible (if not a hope) Sam Presti would combine the picks to move up. Hindsight is 20 – 20 given the Thunder ended up with assets who each offer transferable skillsets.

Here’s the list and links to all 60 prospect previews: Complete guide to TI previews for all 60 NBA Draft prospects.

Sam Presti draft regression:

Alex Mcewen took a look at Sam Presti’s draft night performance with a view to how he’s done in recent years. We’ll have to ask her what she thought of 2018, although it might be a bit soon until everyone gets to see the three new prospects in action. Nonetheless her post on the subject is worth a read as she offers up some valid points.

Hit or miss, OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti has lost his NBA draft selection prowess

Top 15 drafts in franchise history:

Following up on the above thought , I dove in to the franchises history with a view to selecting the top 15 draft picks. Have a gander and let us know if you agree – disagree.

Top 15 NBA Draft picks in franchise history

Three new members of OKC Thunder:

Austin Sternlicht provided the initial report on the 53rd and 57th picks of Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey.

NBA Draft for OKC Thunder use picks to select Devon Hall, Kevin Hervey

Rylan Stiles brought us up to speed on the late night trade by Presti to nab Hamidou Diallo:

OKC Thunder finish event with surprise trade for Hamidou Diallo

Presti’s annual post draft presser:

In addition, Stiles offered the takeaways from Sam Presti’s annual post draft presser:

Sam Presti talks about the offseason ahead

As for the three new OKC Thunder members in each of their  previews they weren’t prioritized as prospects Sam Presti should target. That said, based on who was on the board at the point Presti selected they have to be considered positive picks.

As for Diallo, we’ll have to wait to see what Presti gave up to acquire him. The players aren’t expected to be introduced until closer to the Summer League debut (July 6th) which subsequently is the same day the trade for Diallo will be finalized. That said, Brett Dawson tweeted ‘NBA source’ is suggesting OKC sent next year’s second round pick with cash considerations.

Prospect previews of new OKC Thunder team members:

For a little more insight on them check out their prospect previews:

The Mock Draft:

Each year I prepare these mocks I’m well aware most picks won’t be correct. Yet, the fun of this process is anticipating moves, superseding some GM’s thought processes and occasionally pulling a rabbit out of the hat.

2018 NBA Mock Draft first round plus OKC Thunder picks.

Turns out my heart was more invested in the OKC Thunder picks than even I was willing to admit. Earmarking Omari Spellman for the Thunder’s first pick seemed like a logical choice. Given half the pundits ranked him 42nd or later I assumed pairing the OKC picks could make it work.  So, his selection at 30th was a bit of a surprise. At least my suggestion had merit.

Heart not head ruled OKC picks:

As for the second pick of Kostas Antetokounmpo which the Thunder still could have made also went by the wayside. Kevin O’Connor had the same thought process I did on this one. If Kostas is half the player his older brother is it’s a win. And, if the brothers want to play on the same team what better recruiter to have on your team. I mean – who doesn’t want to see Giannis and Russell on the same team?

"The Mavericks started the night with a bang by trading up for Doncic. They ended it by trading for the no. 60 pick: Kostas Antetokounmpo. Giannis’s brother is raw both physically and as a player, but the tools are there for him to be an impact defender who can space the floor. Maybe if Kostas develops into a player for the Mavs, Giannis will have eyes for Dallas during his free agency in 2021. You never know."

Grading my performance vs. the experts:

More from Thunderous Intentions

In terms of efficiency my picks aligned with 10 GMs (although some players were subsequently traded). Six of my picks were one pick sooner or one pick later (4 of those were reversed immediately before/after). For example Grayson Allen and Chandler Hutchison reversed positions. And, I knew better on the latter given all the banter about Hutchison going to Chicago.

Two picks stand out just because I recognized the players weren’t ranked properly. The first being my dark horse Donte DiVincenzo who moved up 10 spots from his ranking. And, the second being Spellman who moved up 13 spots (which is painful because I truly wanted OKC to get him).

Three prospects made the cut who weren’t on my mock and six were selected more than one pick later than my projections. Of those six, Michael Porter Jr., Lonnie Walker and Robert Williams apparently dropped due to medical questions. Plus Dzanan Musa dropped since he wasn’t willing to be a draft and stash prospect.

Respected ESPN mock master Jonathan Givony got one extra pick right (11) and had four picks off by one (of these two were identical of my six in that category). The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor also had 11 correct and four within one pick. Of note, all three of us collected seven correct predictions in the first 10 picks. Both Givony and O’Connor got the Hutchison pick correct, but our other correct selections were all different.

So, if I base it my performance versus the two experts it’s an A minus. But, if based on efficiency percentage probably a C plus. Yet that would mean Givony and O’Connor also get a C grade since they had one extra correct prediction, but I had six picks within one position of being correct while they had four.

Summer League up next:

The next stage for the prospects will be at the Vegas Summer League. No introduction presser have been announced although Brett Dawson suggest it will occur closer to Summer League start.

In addition, to Terrance Ferguson, Hall and Hervey (and potential Diallo) two additional players were confirmed for the Vegas roster. Ian Begley broke the news Deonte Burton would be on the OKC Vegas roster.

Burton stats:

Burton began his college career with two seasons at Marquette and finished at Iowa State.

Per Game Table
2015-16Iowa State26718.
2016-17Iowa State353529.55.812.7.456.4831.23.2.375.6751.
Iowa State614225.04.910.3.478.5031.02.5.400.6611.

Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 6/23/2018.

And as per NewsOK writer Erik Horne Italy’s Awudu Abass will also join the squad.

"La Prealpina of Italy has reported that Awudu Abass (6-7, 200) will play for the Thunder’s summer league squad as well (h/t Bryan Nix). Abass played last season for Olimpia Milano."

Abass stats:

Per Game Table
2013-14Lega Basket, EuroCup3810.
2014-15EuroCup, Lega Basket4717.
2015-16Lega Basket3030.64.510.1.4501.85.0.351.550.7421.
2016-17EuroLeague, Lega Basket5217.
2017-18EuroLeague, Lega Basket3612.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/23/2018.

Additionally, OKC Blues youngsters and 2-way contracted players will also likely suit up. Horne suggests Daniel Hamilton is probable.

So, there you have it a wrap on the process, event, picks and aftermath. TI will keep you posted as news on either the prospects or Vegas Summer League arises.