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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC should turn one NBA Draft pick into two by trading down

This Sam Presti-led franchise has never been about making a sexy pick on draft night. And the decisions work out smashingly for the franchise. Trading down this year would, too.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 27, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: June 27, 2013

There will come a day, for example, that Kendrick Perkins is no longer the starting center in Oklahoma City. That day is probably a year or two away, though, so the Thunder would have a chance to develop a young big man like Plumlee, Dieng or Gobert.

If I was in the Thunder war room, I'd go with Dieng. He's big and broad, 6-foot-11 and 230 pounds, but he's nimble and athletic, too. He's tough on the defensive end and promising on the offensive end. Dieng passes it well and has a little baby hook that is nice.

He also seems like a guy who would fit the Thunder culture. Rick Pitino, his coach at Louisville, has raved about his magnetism and charisma, which would play well on a team that preaches community involvement.

Plus, Dieng has a pretty decent upside. Even though he's 23 years old and one of the oldest players in the draft, he only started playing basketball six years ago. He still has room to grow.

Concerns have surfaced in recent days about the health of Dieng's knees, and if valid, the Thunder should steer clear.

But remember before the 2007 NFL Draft when concerns surfaced about Adrian Peterson's knees?

Sometimes that pre-draft talk isn't always founded.

If all is well with Dieng's knees, the Thunder should snag him, then get a guard who cannot only score but also guard a bunch of different positions. Thabo Sefolosha, after all, isn't under contract beyond next season. If he and the Thunder can't get a deal done, a strong perimeter defender will be necessary.

Franklin would be my pick.

I had a chance to see the former San Diego State forward play in person against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. He hustles. He scraps. And with a 7-foot wingspan on his 6-foot-5 frame, he has a chance to develop into a defensive terror.

Neither Franklin nor Dieng are without their flaws, but their future potential is intriguing. And really, that's what this draft is about for the Thunder — building for the future.

Trading down would be the best way to build up.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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