The Oklahoma City Thunder are in a unique situation when it comes to their draft positioning. They will hold the best two picks of their own, Miami’s and Houston’s (top-four protected).
There’s more than a 50 percent chance that Houston’s selection lands in the top five, meaning OKC has a high probability of taking on the Heat’s pick at No. 18 overall.
While this isn’t as attractive as adding a second lottery pick to their own, the Thunder still could draft a high-caliber player at that spot. In fact, in last year’s draft, Oklahoma City drafted Aleksej Pokusevski No. 17 overall.
Furthermore, the Thunder could use their future draft capital or even one of their early second-round picks to move a few spots closer to the lottery if they do own pick 18.
Assuming they were to land Miami’s pick at No. 18 overall, let’s take a look at a few prospect Thunder GM Sam Presti might want to consider.
Sharife Cooper (Auburn)
Extremely undersized in the modern NBA, Sharife Cooper packs an offensive punch for how small he is. While it’s unclear just where his ceiling is at the next level, he certainly projects to be at minimum a microwave bench scorer and overall playmaker.
An underrated passer, Cooper has a knack for getting his teammates involved in a variety of ways. If he can find ways to be serviceable on defense in the NBA against guards who are much bigger than him, he’ll have a place.
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Cameron Thomas (LSU)
If you’re into pure scoring, Cameron Thomas is your guy. He hasn’t shown a very well-rounded overall game to this point, but he’s made it clear he can get his team a bucket whenever they need it.
Thomas likely won’t evolve into the star of any team in the NBA, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he became part of a dynamic trio at some point. He’s still got some work to do with his outside shot, but that doesn’t project to be a problem.
Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky)
While this draft doesn’t seem to be all that deep in terms of big men, Isaiah Jackson being one of the best is still impressive. A versatile forward, he projects to be a solid shot blocker and rim-runner.
If Jackson is going to become more than a rotation big, he’ll need to polish off his offensive game. At this point, he’s not able to stretch the floor at all.
Ziaire Williams (Stanford)
There’s prospects in this class that are all over the board in terms of projected draft positioning and Ziaire Williams fits that mold. While it wouldn’t be surprise to see him taken in the late lottery, he could just as easily slip into the twenties with how many great wings are in this class.
At 6-foot-8, Williams has shown he’s not afraid to shoot from outside, but hasn’t proven he can do it efficiently. Just 19 years old, there’s clearly potential and upside for any team that wants to take a shot with him.