Wednesday Bolts: 6.21.17
CBS Sports has OKC taking Terrance Ferguson at 21 in their latest mock draft: “Russell Westbrook needs another shooter next to him, and Ferguson has the prettiest shooting stroke in this draft, with length and elite-level athleticism to boot. Ferguson has the tools to become a special wing in the NBA. One scout told me his season playing in Australia against grown men would be a better transition to the NBA for Ferguson than a year in college would have been. If he can become a more dynamic half-court player, Ferguson could be an absolute steal at this point. If not, he could still be a useful 3-and-D wing.”
Erik Horne on Indiana’s OG Anunoby: “Maybe the biggest question is will the Thunder have the opportunity to draft the 19-year-old Indiana forward, a player who despite suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in January could develop into one of the top two-way talents from Thursday’s NBA Draft. Even with modest statistical production in his one-and-a-half seasons in Bloomington, Anunoby (6-foot-8, 215 pounds) believes he can be an impact player as a professional, particularly on defense. “I think I can become the best defender in the league,” Anunoby told The Indianapolis Star in May.”
Brett Dawson takes a look at the rising stock of Duke’s Luke Kennard: “Not so long ago, you could envision the Thunder selecting Luke Kennard with the 21st pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. You could picture the Duke guard running the floor and filling it up from 3-point range on passes from Russell Westbrook. But the long-range shooter looks increasingly like a long shot for Oklahoma City. As NBA teams seek floor spacing and playmaking, Kennard’s value has only increased. As a 6-foot-6 sharp shooter, he’s looking more and more like a lottery pick.”
Fred Katz on how OKC needs more than just smarts at the draft: “Thunder fans may call 2014 first-rounder Mitch McGary a bust. Those reaching back further could say the same about 2012 first-round selection Perry Jones. Or 2009 first-rounder Byron Mullens, who was going by “B.J. Mullens” at the time Presti swung a deal to move up one spot for him on draft night. But while “bust” is a more complicated term than most realize (the mere definition of it insists that the public wasn’t wrong, just that the players couldn’t live up to what the public wanted), it becomes even more egregious when thrust upon someone who was drafted outside the lottery — and in the cases of those aforementioned Thunder picks, in the 20s.”
Andrew Schlecht reviews four possible options for the Thunder at pick 21: Looking at UNC’s Justin Jackson, Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans, SMU’s Semi Ojeleye and Colorado’s Derrick White.
Ryan Phillips of USA Today on why the Pacers should approach OKC about Paul George: “The deal should center around a swap of George for Victor Oladipo, with other pieces (Domantas Sabonis and/or picks) thrown in to appease the Pacers. Oladipo is still wildly popular in the Hoosier state after his tenure at Indiana University, and bringing him in would give the Pacers a huge PR win to sell to fans. It would make trading George much easier to swallow. Other pieces would need to be included to make the salaries match up, but a deal of this kind would be a win for both sides.”
Dwight Howard is on the move: “Dwight Howard sent out a tweet on Tuesday at 8:55 p.m. ET asking fans to send him their thoughts on trades or the draft — and, he wrote, “Remember 2B-Nice.” The thing is he sent that tweet out at the worst possible time. Just five minutes later, ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that the Hawks agreed to trade Howard to the Hornets. USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick reported the full trade (the Hawks are giving the Hornets Howard and their 31st pick for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick) in a story 25 minutes after Howard’s tweet.”
The Lakers and Nets struck a deal: “With Los Angeles preparing to draft second overall in Thursday’s NBA draft, the Lakers agreed to a cap-clearing trade that will send point guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told The Vertical. The Lakers will get center Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick in the draft, league sources told The Vertical. The deal clears the way for the Lakers to draft UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick and gives them the Nos. 27 and 28 selections in the draft. The trade also allows the Lakers to shed the three years and $54 million left on Mozgov’s contract, and they gain Lopez’s expiring $22.6 million deal. With Lopez’s contract coming off the books in 2018, the Lakers are expected to have $30 million in cap room that summer.”
Is Phil Jackson actually going to trade Kristaps Porzingis? “The New York Knicks have fielded several calls in recent days from teams interested in trading for Kristaps Porzingis, sources confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday. Teams in touch with the Knicks say New York has not ruled out the possibility of trading Porzingis, though one club said it came away with the impression that the price tag for the star forward was extremely high.”
The Clippers are gauging trade interest in DeAndre Jordan: “Sources say the Clippers, in an exploratory fashion, have spoken to a few teams regarding the nine-year veteran. One of the teams contacted was the Phoenix Suns, sources told ESPN. A proposal of Jordan in exchange for veteran center Tyson Chandler and the Suns’ No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA draft was discussed, sources said. The Suns, however, are believed to have balked at the overture.”
The guys from Down To Dunk are hosting a live NBA Draft party tomorrow night in OKC. Visit here for more details and to join their Draft Challenge.