Thunder Journal: Draft Roundtable
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Every journal lately has featured yours truly blabbing at length about the upcoming draft for the Thunder. Since I’m sure you’re as tired of hearing my thoughts as I am, I’ve rounded up the smartest hive of draft minds this side of Mel Kiper: the Daily Thunder community.
We asked three longtime DT commenters, Managing Editor Spenser Davis and Podcast Host Ryan Woods the biggest questions for OKC leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft. Enjoy.
The question on every Thunder fan’s mind: Kuminga or Barnes?
OKCJim: Kuminga for me. I like his upside more. I also like his shooting stroke more and feel like that will come around.
Carrots: Barnes. I love his overall feel for the game, his ability to guard 1-4 and most fives. On offense I question his ability to score in the half court and don’t really ever think he’ll be a good jump shooter but he’s an A+ level facilitator for someone his size. With Kuminga I question his feel, skill level, and surprisingly his willingness to defend. He basically never played in a defensive stance during his time in the g league and for a guy who’s supposed to be good on that end that scares me.
Goatbrook: I’d take Barnes over Kuminga. Barnes is the better player right now and seems to do everything but shoot and I’m not sold on Kuminga just yet. That’s a big “if” in Barnes’ game, which concerns me. I’m not sure how Barnes will be worked into an offense, if at all. I’d take Moody here instead if that was an option.
Woods: BARNES! I’ve warmed up to the idea of Kuminga, but he’ll likely require more patience. Selling point for me is the idea of the Barnes/Shai P&R. Barnes catching the ball at the top of the key after Shai gets trapped and getting to play downhill 4-on-3 basketball as a super-sized playmaker. Sign me up!
Davis: Barnes. I think most people would agree that Kuminga has a higher upside, but I’m not sure how much higher it actually is. And more importantly: I have much more confidence in Barnes reaching whatever his ceiling is than Kuminga.
Would you trade SGA for the #1 pick?
OKCJim: Probably not. Def not him +6 though.
Carrots: No I think we should be focusing on bringing in talent to surround SGA. I’d be willing to trade anything else for number 1 including a boat load of picks but I just wouldn’t wanna trade Shai.
Goatbrook: No. Next question. Shai’s season, albeit a shortened schedule, was fantastic. Plus, the package to “get” that first pick will most likely have us overspending. I’d much rather throw those picks at players in the league. I want us to go for a player like KAT with all of those picks. Make it happen, Presti… please.
Woods: Personally, no, but if it happens i won’t be shocked or upset. I think Cade has a good chance to make an All-NBA Team on his rookie contract.
Davis: Not unless Shai is unwilling to sign a max extension this summer. If he’s ready to sign up for another contract, Cade Cunningham isn’t enough in my opinion.
Would you trade Lu Dort to move into the top 4?
OKCJim: Yes. The gap between the top 4 and the rest is worth dealing him to move up imo.
Carrots: If it’s just 6 and Dort I do it in a heartbeat. I love sweet Luguentz but the top 4 of this draft is NICE. Even Green who I’m not huge on because he’s kinda just a scorer right now would’ve gone number one in last year’s class, And If Mobley falls past 2 we should do everything we can to get 3.
Goatbrook: Yes. I’m not as high on Dort as many fans are. Dort will be fine as a 7-9th man on a team and shouldn’t stop us from making a trade with them in the package. This is also contingent on the package we’re giving up. I don’t see much value in trading up 2-3 spots if we’re giving up a hefty package. Hollinger mentioned a strategy could be to trade up in every draft we having, but with only using picks from that draft, which seems interesting. I think we trade 16 & 18 to move up.
Woods: A month ago i would’ve said a quick “Yes”, but give me Lu Dort on this team for a decade. What has changed my mind more than anything is the depth of this draft class. Here’s where I’m at… Is Dort + Jaden Springer more valuable in the long run than Jalen Suggs? I love Suggs, and think he’d be worth the price, but right now i’d keep Dort and take a swing in the teens.
Davis: Yes, and I wouldn’t think twice about it. The ceiling of those top four players is significantly higher than Dort’s. Also, he’ll be due for a new contract soon and that will sap some of his value.
James Bouknight is a hot name with Thunder fans. Would you be okay with OKC drafting him at 6?
OKCJim: It’s too high but I could get behind it if it happened. I like his athleticism, his shot and his burst.
Carrots: I guess? After the top 5 (Cade, Mobley, Suggs, Green, Barnes) I see a lot of good players. I like pretty much everyone from 6-14 in this draft they all have clear avenues to success with clear flaws that could keep them from reaching their potential. Bouknight is one of those dudes. Dude gets buckets, probably has the best handle of anyone in the lottery, can get to his spots whenever and should be a passable defender, but he also hasn’t shown the ability/willingness to make simple passing reads. If the last part is a deal breaker for you then go with one of the other many flawed prospects in the lottery, there’s a lot of good ones.
Goatbrook: I love Bouknight. However, 6th is too high. I’d rather have Moody or Barnes at that spot.
Woods: If Barnes is gone, YES. The more I watch of Bouknight the more I like. 3-level scoring that really compliments Shai would be a home run. Taking Bouknight over Barnes feels R I S K Y, but I trust Sam.
Davis: Yes. He’s got great size and is a talented scorer who can take some of the pressure off Shai in the half court. I think his floor is a microwave scorer in the vein of someone like Lou Williams, but without the defensive deficiencies.
Who do you really want OKC to draft? Who do you really NOT want OKC to draft?
OKCJim: I think Sengun will be a good nba player but I’d rather have a center who can anchor the defense. Since we are a blank slate that would be my team building preference.
Carrots: The guy I realistically (I don’t see any of the top 4 falling to us) want to see us take at 6 is Scottie, I think there’s a pretty good chance he’s gone but that’s who I want. The only 2 guys I’m not big on is Kuminga and Keon Johnson. And while I’m warming up to Kuminga as a possibility, he still has the tools and intriguing skills for his size, he’s just not my cup of tea. I like Keon after the lottery, he’s a bulldog on defense and a freak athlete, he’s just too raw to take with 6. Overall as long as we get two of the top 14 guys I’ll be happy. If we can move up to the top 3 then I’ll be ecstatic.
Goatbrook: I really want the any of the following players: Moody, Giddey, Garuba, Bones Hyland (who’s one of my favorite players in the draft), JT Thor, Kessler Edwards, and Jaden Springer. I don’t think the Thunder can be picky here. We don’t have much talent outside of Shai and maybe guys like Dort. The only red flag I’d have is if we pick someone like Davion Mitchell at 6, only because of size and age.
Woods: Who I Want: Suggs. Best case scenario, for me, is Suggs somehow falling to 6. Who I Don’t Want: Johnson & Johnson. Miss me with both Jalen and Keon.
Davis: Jalen Green has been my favorite target throughout this draft and it’s a bummer that it seems like he’s going to end up in Houston. Alperen Sengun and Jaden Springer are two of my favorites in the mid-teens. I’d like to avoid Keon Johnson and Jalen Johnson.
Who are your favorite targets at 16 and 18?
OKCJim: Springer/Kai Jones/Isaiah Jackson/Trey Murphy/JT THOR/Roko. Guys with potential to be 2 way guys only please.
Carrots: I like Duarte, Garuba, Dosunmu, kispert, Kai Jones if he makes it here.
I like the idea of packaging these picks to move up into the late lottery and grabbing Mitchell, Moody, Wagner, Giddey, Sengun. Whichever one of those dudes falls to the end of the lottery.
Goatbrook: I’d be really happy if we end up with either Springer/Garuba/Giddey at 16 and 18. Another guy who I really like right now is Jared butler, too and if he’s at the 16-18 range, I’d love it. I highly doubt Giddey is available at 16/18 – I really think the Magic should get him with the 8th pick. If we look to the second round, I’d like guys like JT Thor and Kessler Edwards.
Woods: Kai Jones / Jaden Springer / Tre Mann / Corey Kispert / Josh Primo / Tre Murphy / Isaiah Jackson
Davis: Springer, Sengun, Kai Jones, Usman Garuba, Cam Thomas and maybe even someone like Corey Kispert. He’s old for a rookie, but it might not be a bad idea to take a sure-thing rotation piece in the midst of all these home run swings.
Call your shot: who does OKC end up with on draft night (1st round only)?
OKCJim: Trade up for Mobley at 3 (for Kevin Love/6/16)Springer at 18 and trade 34/36 for late 20’s and draft Roko.
Carrots: Sengun at 6. Trade 16 and 18 to get Davion Mitchell at the end of the lottery.
Goatbrook: I’m hoping for Moody/Barnes at 6, but I think we go with Kuminga. If we don’t trade 16 and 18, I think we grab Garuba and Springer.
Woods: I think Sam moves up to get his guy: Evan Mobley. A picture-perfect fit on this team now and going forward.
Davis: I’m confident in Sam Presti’s ability and desire to trade up into the top four, so I’ll say Evan Mobley with the first pick. Let’s assume that trade costs OKC’s No. 16 and 18 picks, but the Thunder are able to use their 2nd rounders to trade back late in the first round to draft… Vrenz Bleijenbergh.