The Oklahoma City Thunder’s hopes for three first round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft have been officially dashed.
The Golden State Warriors currently sit at 37-33, with only two games remaining in their season. The pick the Warriors sent to Oklahoma City in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr. is a Top 20-protected pick, with the Lakers currently sitting at 21st in the draft standings at 40-30. Impossible for Golden State to make up the ground, the protection will keep the pick with the Warriors and convey to a second round pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
So unless a trade goes down on draft night, the Thunder will have to be happy with their two picks.
The recent tumble down the standings since the trade deadline now has OKC tied for the third best lottery odds in the league, which carries with it a 52.1 percent chance that the pick will land in the top four and a 14 percent chance at the top pick in the 2021 draft.
The Houston Rockets are locked in at the worst record in the league, carrying the same odds as Oklahoma City.
There is a 42 percent chance the Houston pick will fall out of the top four, where it would then become a Thunder pick. If the pick remains in the top four however, the Rockets will retain the pick and Oklahoma City will assume Miami’s first round selection via a trade swap with the Rockets.
The dream scenario of the Thunder selecting first overall and fifth overall is still alive, and Oklahoma City has a great chance of landing at least one pick in the top five, where they could snag one of Cade Cunningham, Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs or Evan Mobley.
If both the Thunder and the Magic lose their remaining games, they will tie for the third best lottery odds and have to go into a special lottery to determine which franchise will hold the third best odds. If OKC loses out on that draw and falls to the fourth-best lottery odds, their chances at landing a top four pick fall to 48.1 percent, and their dreams of landing the top pick fall to a 12.5 percent chance.
At the worst case, OKC’s pick will fall outside of the top five, but Thunder fans can hold onto the hope that Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti can package his two first round picks and perhaps future draft capital to vault up into the top five and snag one of the potentially franchise altering talents at the top of this year’s draft.