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Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder has a history of finding steals late in the first round

Armed with two selections in the bottom third of the first round of the NBA Draft, can the Thunder again come away with another steal?
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 23, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots a lay up in between San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (22) , Manu Ginobili (20) and San Antonio's Patty Mills (8) during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson (15) shoots a lay up in between San Antonio's Tiago Splitter (22) , Manu Ginobili (20) and San Antonio's Patty Mills (8) during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

As the NBA Draft approaches Thursday night, one question looms large.

Can the Thunder do it again?

Armed with two selections in the bottom third of the first round, the 21st and 29th picks, can the Thunder again come away with a steal?

If anyone can do it, the Thunder seems to be that team. No team has had more success drafting in the 20s over the past six seasons than the Thunder, which over that span has acquired everything from stars to sixth men to promising sleepers.

In 2008, the franchise landed Serge Ibaka with the 24th pick.

In 2011, the Thunder selected Reggie Jackson with the 24th pick.

In 2012, OKC plucked Perry Jones III with the 28th pick.

In 2013, the Thunder moved up three spots and nabbed Andre Roberson with the 26th pick.

This year’s draft pool is widely considered to be the deepest in years, which should only help the Thunder secure another significant late-round selection.

Mock drafts don’t provide any more clarity on which direction the Thunder might go. But a sampling of some of the more popular projections show that there should be plenty of talent available by the time the Thunder is on the clock.

ESPN.com projects the Thunder will select UCLA power forward Ryan Anderson at No. 21 and UCLA shooting guard Jordan Adams at No. 29.

Draftexpress.com projects the Thunder will take Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne at No. 21 and Clemson small forward K.J. McDaniels at No. 29.

NBAdraft.net has penciled in Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III at No. 21 and Swiss big man Clint Capela at No. 29.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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