Thunder Journal: Draft Rumblings
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There’s only two players I could make peace with the Thunder passing over either Jonathan Kuminga or Scottie Barnes to draft: Moses Moody or James Bouknight.
Drafting Jalen Suggs at 6 is the dream. Drafting Alperen Sengun at 6 is the bad dream. Drafting Keon Johnson at 6 is the nightmare.
Jonathan Kuminga has so many detractors calling him overrated that now he’s become this draft’s most underrated player.
The Cavs feel like the most logical partner if OKC is going to move up. They’ve shown true interest in Kuminga and Barnes, OKC is the only team that can relieve them of $60 million worth of Kevin Love so they can re-sign Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen. Jalen Green will be gone and Evan Mobley and Allen are an odd pair, and they’ve declared a willingness to trade their pick if it helps them win now.
Packaging 16 and 18 to move back into the Top 10 is a great idea if the Thunder can land Moses Moody, James Bouknight or maybe Josh Giddey. Anyone else, it’d be wiser to keep two picks.
Taking on the Eric Bledsoe contract from the Pelicans in exchange for swapping #18 + #36 for #10 just makes too much sense for both teams not to do it. 6, 10 and 16 could turn into something like Scottie Barnes, Moses Moody and Kai Jones. That’d be a phenomenal haul.
Feels like Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green are locked into 1 and 2. If the Thunder are going to trade up, it’ll likely be for Evan Mobley or Jalen Suggs.
Two days ago, it felt like the Thunder could snag sleeper Jaden Springer at 18 pretty easily. After private workouts spread the word that he was playing on a bum ankle last year, it feels like Springer will be sprung before 16.
Of all the names routinely mocked between 6 and 18, there’s only one player I just can’t see the Thunder drafting: Davion Mitchell. Short and old are new era Thunder curse words.
The Thunder have nine players under contract, two restricted free agents in Svi Mykhailiuk and Tony Bradley, two lingering non-guaranteed deals in Gabriel Deck and Charlie Brown Jr, a rumored Vit Krejci signing and six draft picks. It doesn’t take a Will Hunting to realize Sam Presti won’t be using all those picks.
Jalen Johnson and Ziaire Williams don’t inspire much enthusiasm within Thunder fan circles, but taking a home run swing on either of them at 18 might be a smartly calculated risk. Both have top 10 talent hidden beneath underwhelming college production.
I’d be shocked if OKC doesn’t come away with a big man. Assuming trading up for Mobley doesn’t work out, here’s how I rank the top 20 bound bigs: Kai Jones, Alperen Sengun, Isaiah Jackson, Usman Garuba.
For on court potential purposes and for off court meme purposes, the Thunder need JT Thor. The problem is 18 feels too high and he’ll likely be gone by 34.
Trey Murphy’s projected draft range seems strangely low. He’s over 6’9”, averaged 11.3 points on 50/43/93 splits and plays decent defense.
There will be plenty of high upside guards to choose from at 18: Cameron Thomas, Sharife Cooper, Chris Duarte, Jared Butler and Tre Mann. The argument for each one makes them so close that Presti might as well close his eyes and throw a dart at his draft board.
The last time the Thunder had a top 6 pick, Sam Presti chose James Harden at #3 even though many thought it was a reach and he should’ve picked Ricky Rubio or Tyreke Evans. The year before, Sam Presti chose Russell Westbrook at #4 even though many thought it was a reach and he should’ve picked Kevin Love or Eric Gordon. Those worked out pretty well. So if Presti chooses a Moody or Bouknight instead of a Kuminga and many think it’s a reach, I’m gonna say he’s earned some grace and patience instead of a rush to judgment.