Looking Ahead: Thunder have flexibility to draft best available

With the young, versatile core the OKC Thunder has, they should have the flexibility to look beyond positional need and take the best available player in the 2021 NBA Draft
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With just a handful of games remaining this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, their focus will quickly shift to the draft in just over a week. With the 2021 NBA Draft set to occur on July 29, the Thunder will have several quality picks to select a franchise-changing player. 

With a minimum of four picks in the top 36 in the upcoming draft, assuming they don't make any trades, OKC will have four swings at getting solid players who can help expedite the rebuild. The biggest question will be around the Thunder's lottery chances, which will determine whether they get one, two or zero top-five picks. 

Regardless of where their picks fall, Oklahoma City should have the approach of drafting the best player on the board when it's their turn to select, rather than trying to fill positional need. For starters, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has already shown that he can play three positions at a high level with his size and skillset. Similarly, Lu Dort has shown an ability to handle the ball, play the off-guard spot, and even the wing position on both ends of the floor. 


Ty Jerome is emerging as excellent bench playmaker

Mock Draft: Thunder get their center of the future

When it comes to forwards, Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski and Isaiah Roby all have the ability to handle the ball and stretch the floor, while also having the size to be effective on the interior. Due to this, all three of these young guys can play either forward position and small ball center in small spurts when needed. 

Finally, while Ty Jerome and Theo Maledon project to be high-end bench players when the Thunder are looking to be contenders again, they both possess the ability to play the point guard or off the ball with their respective 3-point shooting and passing abilities. 

With all of this in mind, the Oklahoma City Thunder have no reason to make a draft decision based on what positions they need to fill. Especially for a team that has so much draft capital and young upside, selecting players that the front office believes have the most upside in general should be the direction they go. 

Especially in the top-five, where Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Jonathan Kuminga will likely get taken, there shouldn't be any over-thinking about who fits the roster best today. When OKC is a playoff team once again in the next several years, the roster will likely look quite a bit different anyways.