Though the Oklahoma City Thunder possess three first round draft picks in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft, they also hold a lot of value in the second round.
Owning picks 34 and 36 overall, Sam Presti will have the flexibility to either take two swings at snagging a second-round steal, or be able to package the picks and move up.
A year ago, Presti was able to hit a home run by taking Theo Maledon with the No. 34-overall pick, finding a talent who would go on to admirably run the Thunder offense after star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was shut down with a foot injury.
Picks at the top of the second round can have surprising value, as teams are able to negotiate contracts for their second round picks themselves. Any first rounder already has a contract allotted to them based on where they were selected. Thus, second round picks could give cash-strapped teams greater financial flexibility while still vying to land talented players.
Though far from a given, plenty of talent has emerged out of the second round in the past decade.
Malcolm Brogdon, Montrezl Harrell, Khris Middleton, Draymond Green and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic have all been selected in the second round since the 2012 draft.
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Presti has had his own success with second round picks as well.
Alex Abrines was a contributor for OKC after getting selected in the second round, as was defensive spark plug Hamidou Diallo.
Diallo was averaging 11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals per game last season in 32 games for the Thunder before getting dealt to Detroit at the trade deadline.