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There’s no sugarcoating it: Tuesday night’s draft lottery results were a big bummer for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fans had been daydreaming of a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Cade Cunningham pairing since December. Visions of Suggsarplums have been dancing in our heads since March Madness. In one moment, Thunder fans went from thoughts of two top 5 picks (Mobley or Green AND Kuminga!) to the realization of no top 5 picks.
But fear not, OKC faithful. Sam Presti has three 1st round draft picks at his disposal. Not to mention all those future picks. Not to mention an array of young players and a savvy vet or two. Asset upon asset. Which means the Thunder have options come draft night on July 29.
So what are all the different realistic choices OKC might make with the #6 pick?
Glad you asked…
Option #1: Draft Scottie Barnes. As soon as that that smiling Jack Napier of a draft lottery host turned his dumb, oversized pick # 6 card over and it revealed the Thunder logo, it felt like Barnes was destined to be the next student at Thunder U Redux. While the top 5 of this draft have been firmly entrenched all season long, so too has Scottie Six Spot. Picking themselves off the ground after the no Green gut punch, OKC fans slowly wiped the Cade tears from their eyes as they browsed Barnes buzz all over NBA social media. Maybe landing the #6 player in a five player draft doesn’t hurt so bad when you learn you’ve been hoodwinked. Suddenly, this is a six player draft.
Option #2: Draft Jonathan Kuminga. The night of the lottery draft and the months leading up to it, Thunder fans would’ve been ecstatic with the prospect of drafting a consensus top 5 pick in Kuminga. What a difference a few days of nonstop Barnes buzz will do. Now the OKC faithful find themselves dreading the idea of drafting the 18 year old Grandson of the Congo. They shouldn’t. Kuminga at 6 is a big draft day win.
Option #3: Draft Moses Moody. If Sam Presti wants to shock all the armchair mock draft experts and burn NBA Twitter down to the ground, he can nope out to Kuminga or Barnes and select the safest player left on the board. It’s not going to happen. But if it did happen, Moody’s 3&D skillset along with his go-go gadget wingspan makes Moses the best candidate.
Option #4: Trade with the Cavs up to #3. The cost of Cleveland giving up the chance to draft either Evan Mobley or Jalen Green is likely too steep of one to pay. But the chance to draft either Mobley or Green may be worth it to the Thunder. Cleveland wants to trade out of the 3 spot. Do they like Barnes or Kuminga enough to do it if OKC added some combo of 16, 18 and please don’t get angry with me but Lu Dort?
Option #5: Trade with the Raptors up to #4. If the Thunder move up, I think this is the spot to do it. More than likely, Suggs falls to four. Toronto has Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. as their backcourt. They’ve interviewed Barnes. They could use Alperen Sengun. Seems OKC could add enough juice to jump two spots to grab the Gonzaga guard.
Option #6: Trade with the Warriors down to #7. Golden State loves Scottie Barnes. They see him as Draymond Green 2.0. Gross as that sounds to Thunder fans, it’s somehow appealing to Warriors fans. If OKC is set on adding a shooter with their first pick and like someone like Moody or Josh Giddey enough, trading down one spot and adding GSW’s #14 pick (or somehow stealing James Wiseman) makes sense.
Option #7: Trade for Ben Simmons. I’m okay with trading for Simmons, but I’m not okay giving up the #6 overall pick to do so. If OKC desires a point guard trapped in a power forward’s body who can’t shoot, just refer to option 1.
Option #8: Hope for chaos. If you believe the likes of Chad Ford and John Hollinger, there’s a world in which Barnes is drafted at 3, Alperen Sengun sneaks into the top 5 and Jalen Suggs falls into the Thunder’s laps at #6. I personally think they’re drunk. But I’ll happily buy the next round.