As we head towards the 2017 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a bevy of options at their disposal. I’ve looked at the Thunder moving up, staying put, or getting involved in a trade. But the team has a couple more directions they could go in. They could trade down and in the process pick up another asset. Or they could draft at their position and then buy or trade for a 2nd rounder later in the draft. Their original 2nd rounder was traded to Denver in the Joffrey Lauvergne trade from last offseason.
The team is at a little bit of a crossroads in their current development. They have a top-5 superstar that is currently in his prime, but the rest of the roster is extremely young. Last season, the Thunder had three rookies who played extensive minutes. In addition, the four best players on the team behind Russell Westbrook are all 25 years of age or younger. Of those 4 players, three have been signed to extension (Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, and Victor Oladipo) and the fourth will likely learn his fate by the middle of July.
Trading back and grabbing a future asset could help the Thunder in the long run. That asset could be the piece that gets them a player of need or it could just be something the Thunder use in whatever scope they can use it in. Here are 5 options for trading back or even getting into the 2nd round.
Frank Jackson – PG
Duke | Freshman | 6’3.5″ | 6’7.5″ wingspan | 10.9 pts | 62.9% FG | 39.5% 3pt FG | 2.5 rebs | 1.7 assists | 0.6 steals
There is a rumor that a team has already made Jackson a promise to take him in the first round. The Thunder have employed the promise game before with another point guard with the last name Jackson (Reggie in the 2011 draft). Jackson certainly meets the athletic marks the Thunder love in a guard. But picking him at 21 seems like a reach to me. Most mock drafts have Jackson going in the top half of the 2nd round. He is definitely a candidate to move down in the first round and still keep their promise.
Jackson could be a surprise in this draft, but he is still extremely young. He played about 25 minutes per game last season at Duke and has a lot of rawness to his game. The talent is definitely there, but the timeline for that talent to manifest itself not prove fruitful this upcoming season.
Josh Hart – PG/SG
Villanova | Senior | 6’5″ | 6’8″ wingspan | 18.7 pts | 51.2% FG | 40.4% 3pt FG | 6.4 rebs | 2.9 assists | 1.6 steals
The senior out of Villanova has been trending up in many mock drafts. Hart is a complete player, but at over 22 years of age, his “experience” may be working against him in the draft. Most teams like to draft potential in the first round and then draft experience in the 2nd round. Unfortunately for Hart, he falls in the experience category. But for a team selecting late in the first round or buying an early 2nd round pick, Hart would be the perfect selection.
Offensively, he falls more into combo guard status than strictly any of the definable guard positions. He’s a bit careless with the ball, averaging 2 turnovers against his 2.9 assists per game. But if a team has a role suited to his strength, he could be an extremely valuable late round pick.
Jordan Bell – PF/C
Oregon | Junior | 6’8.5″ | 7′ wingspan | 11 pts | 64.3% FG | 15.4% 3pt FG | 8.7 rebs | 1.8 assists | 1.3 steals | 2.3 blocks
Another Draymond Green like player in the 2nd round. Bell is considered short by post player standards, but his 7-foot wingspan allows him to play much bigger than what his height is. In addition, he has a knack for the ball in rebounding and block situations. His bigger body allows him to bang inside and push taller, thinner player out of position.
Offensively, Bell is a work in progress. He has started to introduce a 3-point shot to his arsenal, but it is still evolving. Bell, can be a bit prone to turnovers, especially when he puts it on the floor. Bell could be an asset on the defensive end, but he could also be a liability on the offensive end.
Isaiah Hartenstein – PF/C
Zalgiris | International (Freshman) | 7’1″ | 7’2″ wingspan | 1 point | 40% FG | 0.8 rebs | 0.2 assists
The Thunder were rumored to throw their hat into the Kristaps Porzingis sweepstake. If they fail, a consolation prize could be drafting Hartenstein, who is extremely raw, but has shown the tools to be a Porzingis or Dirk Nowitzki type big man. Hartenstein could be a good candidate to be a draft and stash 2nd rounder.
Sindarius Thornwell – SG
South Carolina | Senior | 6’5″ | 6’10” | 21.4 pts | 44.4% FG | 39.2% 3pt FG | 7.1 rebs | 2.8 assists | 2.1 steals | 1 block
Another older player who suffers from the “too much experience” syndrome. Thornwell would likely be someone who the Thunder could use as a floor spacer and a third guard off the bench. Due to his experience, he would be someone that would likely be ready to play immediately. As a late 2nd rounder, there would be little to no risk in bringing Thornwell into the fold.