OKC Thunder hire Rivals.com Corey Evans to help evaluate draft talent

As the OKC Thunder prepare for the 2020 draft and future drafts with ample picks they’ll be aided by new hire Corey Evans of Rivals.com

This past offseason executive vice president and general manager of the OKC Thunder Sam Presti was busier than usual. That came about due to the trade demand of Paul George shortly after the free agency moratorium began.

The resulting effect is the Thunder roster was significantly changed after Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Jerami Grant were all traded from the team. With the exit of the two superstars and core talent Grant, Presti gained a haul of draft picks and swaps that will become a significant factor in the future of the franchise.

The OKC Thunder landed five first-round draft picks and two first-round draft swaps from the Clippers for George, two first-round draft picks and swaps from the Rockets, and a first-round draft pick from the Nuggets. The first of those picks will factor this year as the Nuggets convey their first-round pick.

The 2020 draft has been postponed to November 18th and may still be moved even again depending on the situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Rivals.com Corey Evans hired to help OKC Thunder preparing for future drafts

In preparation for the next several years, OKC Thunder brain trust Sam Presti elected to bolster his draft process through a specific hire. That person is Corey Evans of Rivals.com who is an analyst with Rivals.com. Evans will join the Thunder in an amateur scouting role and will undoubtedly impact the upcoming drafts when high school students can be selected.

One of the most sought after national media voices when it comes to the NBA draft is Jonathan Givony of Draft Express and he called this move by Presti “a home run”.  Givony called Evans “one of the most respected voices in the recruiting world“. Presti who cut his teeth in the Spurs organization again follows in their footsteps as San Antonio made a similar hire with Dave Telep back in 2013.

Specifically, those first-round picks and swaps will play out in the following seasons as:

  • 2021: unprotected Miami Heat pick
  • 2021: the right to swap with Rockets (protected 1-4)
  • 2022: unprotected Clippers pick
  • 2023: Heat pick (lottery protected or 1-14) as well as the right to swap with Clippers
  • 2024: unprotected Clippers pick
  • 2024: Rockets pick (protected 1-4)
  • 2025: the right to swap Thunder pick with Clippers
  • 2025: the right to swap with Rockets (protected 1-10)
  • 2026: unprotected Clippers pick
  • 2026: Rockets pick (protected 1-4)

As the NBA prepares to allow high schoolers to join the draft directly there will be even greater emphasis placed on recruiting those talents. Originally it was thought the 2021 draft would be the first draft the NBA returned to allowing high school prospects into the mix but it’s recently shifted to being a better likelihood for 2022.

Regardless of when the NBA formalizes this agreement having a more concerted focus on high school players is important. Particularly for the OKC Thunder who have so many picks over the next seven seasons. Considering the Thunder will likely make additional trades and bolster that draft cupboard only lends more credence to this decision.

The top 150 high school prospects are ranked on Rival.com with several considered to be star talents. In review of those 150 players, you’ll note each player is given a ranking of one through five stars signifying their overall talent and ability. OKC Thunder hire Rivals.com Corey Evans to help evaluate draft talent

For more information on Evans, check out Pete Thamel’s article on Yahoo.