The Draft Outlook for the Oklahoma City Thunder
*Photo via Getty Images
The Oklahoma City Thunder had a very different season than they’re used to this year. Injury after injury had them struggling to keep a full roster, and last year’s MVP, Kevin Durant, only played 27 games this season. A team that has been so dominant in the past didn’t even make the playoffs this year and are now sitting at the 14th pick in the draft. Based on who will most likely be available, these are some players that could be good for the Thunder.
1. Tyus Jones PG, 6’1”, 190lbs
When it comes to point guards, you can’t get much better than Russell Westbrook. The Thunder’s current backup point guard, D.J. Augustin, struggled to make much of an impact on the team this year. Adding another point guard to the roster may not be a bad decision for Oklahoma City, and Tyus Jones could be that guy.
Jones is one of the smartest guards in this year’s draft. He’s barely nineteen years old, but possesses maturity way beyond his years. Hardly ever does Jones make a bad decision, and he seems to always know exactly what’s going to happen two plays in the future.
On offense, Jones has proven to be a very valuable asset in scoring and getting his teammates open. He definitely isn’t afraid to step up and be the leading scorer at times, and also isn’t scared to drive and go up against the big men despite his relatively small size. Scoring 19 points in the second half of the NCAA championship game, “Clutch” just might actually be his middle name.
Jones always looks to pass first, averaging 5.6 assists in his year at Duke. He’s also known to be a decent shooter with a 42 percent field goal percentage. Jones’s fearlessness and high basketball IQ make this 2015 Final Four Most Outstanding Player a good addition to any team, but especially the Thunder.
2. Sam Dekker SF, 6’9”, 220lbs
With Durant being gone for so long this year, OKC realized that they need someone better than Andre Roberson or Perry Jones to back up the superstar. Wisconsin junior, Sam Dekker may be the answer.
Dekker is incredibly versatile for a forward. He has a good range on his shot and can also score very well in the paint. Dekker also runs the floor nicely and contributes quite a bit in coast-to-coast situations, something the Thunder are pretty fluent in.
He’s exceedingly creative in getting to the rim, shooting 70 percent from down low in his sophomore season. Dekker knows how to go hard inside and draw the foul. He’s explosive under the basket, often giving him an advantage when cutting and coming off the pick-and-roll.
Dekker attacks the boards, grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game in Wisconsin’s long 2014-15 season. Thanks to his athleticism, he has shown that he can defend on the block and on the perimeter. Dekker would be a good option for Oklahoma City as an all-around player that would add more talent and depth to the small forward slot.
Thunder GM Sam Presti doesn’t really need to make something big happen with this draft. After all, it was only injuries that landed OKC in the lottery. They have the skill level to be a force to be reckoned with if they can keep everyone healthy. Incoming players like Jones and Dekker would help to cushion the team on their rise back to the top next season.