In a week consumed by a whirlwind of trade rumors, the Oklahoma City Thunder stayed put with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft and selected 6’7″ wing Terrance Ferguson, who played last season for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia.
Ferguson was actually born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before playing his high school basketball at Advanced Prep International in Texas where he was named a McDonald’s All-American. He originally committed to play at Arizona before deciding to play overseas for a year.
Overseas, Ferguson averaged just 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists in limited minutes (15.1 per game). In his prolific high school career and one year abroad, Ferguson showed a streaky shooting stroke and electric athleticism. Despite his slight frame, quick foot speed alongside a 6’9″ wingspan promise some defensive tools.
The Thunder came into the night with a few obvious needs: a backup point guard, a two-way wing who could space the floor, and a versatile forward to fill Taj Gibson’s expected vacancy.
This pick certainly is a step towards one of those, with Ferguson being able to play multiple wing positions with his length and athleticism. If he can continue to improve his shooting consistency he could develop into a true three-and-D player. In the meantime, expect a couple of games next season where he steps in as a spark plug off the bench and rattles off points in a hurry. But with tonight’s draft coming just a few weeks after his 19th birthday, Ferguson certainly has some growing up to do before he becomes an impact player on the NBA level.
How does this pick affect the rest of the draft? Will the Thunder try to trade into the second round? And will the selection of Ferguson affect free agency negotiations with Andre Roberson, a player with similar measurables?
All that is yet to be determined, but for now, the Thunder have added an exciting young player. Highlight dunks, guaranteed.