Thunder draft: 3 players worth looking at with the No. 6 pick
Those were the Oklahoma City Thunder’s odds at the top draft selection and a chance at the closest player to a sure thing in this year’s draft. Picks two through four also carried with it an 11 percent chance at converting in the Thunder’s favor.
And if that didn’t work out, there was a chance the Houston Rockets’ pick would slip out of the top five, landing another pick in the trusted hands of Sam Presti. However, none of that happened Tuesday night.
Instead, the Thunder got stuck with pick No. 6, and the Rockets crept into the top five. And with this draft viewed as a five-man draft, the sixth pick felt evil, maniacal, torturous, or any other adjective you want to place there. Yet, all is not lost. From pick No. 6, there is something to be gained.
So rather than dwell on what went wrong on draft lottery night, let’s look at three players that might be available if Oklahoma stays at six on draft night.
Scottie Barnes SF/PF | 19 | 6’9” | Florida State
For a team picking sixth, Barnes is a nice consolation prize. He has a great defensive motor, and with his long arms coupled with a sturdy frame, he projects as a plus defender in the NBA.
In college, he averaged 10.3 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. His one glaring weakness as a player is his outside jump shot, which he struggled to convert on for long stretches of his college career. He makes up for his lack of shooting with his motor and effort. That is his calling card to the game and one of the few things that are known to translate to the NBA.
Still, Barnes remains an intriguing player when looking at his skill set combined with the polished offensive game of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If the Thunder stays at six, he is an appealing selection and project for a team not projected to compete for a few seasons.
Franz Wagner SF | 19 | 6’9” | Michigan
What Wagner lacks in star power, he makes up for in his consistency. He averaged 12 points per game during his sophomore season, and he shot 38 percent from three.
At 6-foot-9, he possesses great size at the wing spot, and he’s an adept defender who uses his body to make up for his lack of burst athleticism. He’s smart, and he knows how to play the game efficiently.
Wagner can be characterized as a high floor low ceiling player. He may not change the direction of the franchise, but when contending for an NBA Championship, he’s a nice addition to the roster.
Keon Johnson SG | 19 | 6’5” | Tennessee
Johnson’s refined skills aren’t the headliner his raw athleticism is.
As a straight-line driver, there aren’t many who can stay in front of Johnson when he has a full head of steam heading towards the basket. He relishes contact and seeks it out like a heat-seeking missile.
In college, he averaged 11.2 points per game, with a true shooting percentage of 52. However, offense isn’t his calling card – it’s just a plus. What makes him an intriguing draft selection is his versatility on the defensive end.
With great size as a guard, he is an active on-ball defender who presents versatility and aggression. It doesn’t stop there. He is also an active off-ball defender, instinctively jumping in passing lanes, and disrupting the opposing team’s offensive rhythm.
He’s another project, but his upside could prove worthy of the sixth selection in the NBA Draft.