Kobe Bufkin is the most popular name among the 2023 NBA Mock Drafts for the OKC Thunder a week out.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, ESPN’s Jonathan Givonay, and Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman all have the OKC Thunder selecting Michigan guard Kobe Bufkin with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
The OKC Thunder have seen Shai Gilgeous-Alexander working out with the potential lottery pick ahead of the NBA Draft, which might add more fuel to the Bufkin connection. The Michigan product spent two seasons with the Wolverines. A year ago, averaging 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal per contest. Bufkin turned in 48 percent shooting from the floor and 35 percent from beyond the arc while shooting an impressive 85 percent at the charity stripe.
A bit of a late bloomer, Bufkin blossomed during the second half of his second college season at Michigan. With a high feel for the game and playmaking chops, it is easy to fall for the 6’4 guard. He flashed good on-ball defense, high-level shooting potential, and a fantastic motor in Ann Arbor.
He was sometimes a tad out of control in the Wolverine offense, but his reduced NBA role should help that. The main concern is Bufkin’s 195-pound frame that might limit him on the defensive end in the association.
While others are concerned about his ceiling as a nearly 20-year-old, that is a bit unfair to the scoring guard. Ultimately, the OKC Thunder could be an excellent fit for Bufkin.