Can OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti strike lightning twice via draft picks?

OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant #35, Russell Westbrook #0 and James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant #35, Russell Westbrook #0 and James Harden #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook #0 and Kevin Durant #35 (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2022 Draft Picks:

This draft class should result in the return to High School players being eligible. As such it will equate to having two draft classes in one year.  Notably, teams who’ve included draft picks tend to avoid offering any from this year knowing how valuable even late first-round picks will be.

First Round Picks:

Clearly, this is the draft class Sam Presti would prefer to have the most picks in and moving forward if he grabs any additional picks no doubt he’ll be aiming to aid ones from this class. Moreover, the Thunder could lose both their first and second-round picks depending on where the lottery balls fall.

If the ping pong ball falls outside the lottery picks of 1-14 their pick will go to the Hawks. If OKC retains the pick they’ll convey their 2024 and 2025 second-round picks to the Hawks.

Nuggets pick protected 1-10 if not conveyed in 2020 or 2021.

The Clippers 2022 pick is the one guaranteed pick to be conveyed.

Second Round Picks:

As it stands the Thunder are in a bit of a paradox as they’ll likely finish poorly this coming 2019-20 season. That’s a problem particularly if their lottery ball lands anywhere 1 through 20 as that means they won’t convey their 2020 first-round protected pick to the 76ers. Subsequently, they’ll have to send their 2022 and 2023 second-round picks to the 76ers (at least it won’t be a first-round pick).

Normally conveying a second-round pick isn’t necessarily that tragic, but again, this class is expected to be deep with quality picks extending past the first 30 selections.

What’s likely to happen:

Without knowing how the roster will look two seasons from now this draft will be the most uncertain and precarious. On one hand, the hope would be in two seasons the Thunder are competing for an upper echelon spot. On the other hand, would it behoove the OKC Thunder to not necessarily forfeit winning, but take a longer term view of building the young core? Hopefully in two years that would translate into featuring a few more youngsters to compliment Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Ultimately, the OKC Thunder could conceivably lose both their own picks to the Hawks and 76ers and only have the Clippers pick which clearly isn’t ideal.  Entering this season with a view to the future, players like Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Andre Roberson could all find themselves playing elsewhere by the trade deadline. If any of these players move the objective has to be adding draft picks from this class.