The 2013 NBA Draft is this week, and once again nobody has a clue what the Oklahoma City Thunder will do come Thursday night.
Armed with the 12th, 29th and 32nd selections, though, the Thunder will be at the center of the action.
“We'll be open-minded about everything,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
But for the third straight year, the Thunder isn't banking on the draft to bring a player that will help next year. It's likely the eventual picks won't even play. The mother of Syracuse point guard prospect Michael Carter-Williams, according to WEEI.com, said the team made it clear to her son that whoever is selected will play in the NBA D-League next season.
For the Thunder, this year's draft is about the future. Now more than ever, the Thunder is in position to layer its roster and move closer toward sustained success.
This year's lottery pick, the Thunder's first since Cole Aldrich in 2010, will join a promising group of young guns that includes Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III. Together, they form a formidable supporting cast designed to complement Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka for the foreseeable future.
In addition to this year's three selections, Oklahoma City also owns a future first-round pick from Dallas, which, like this year's 12th selection, was acquired in the trade that sent James Harden to Houston.
Given the current talent and those attractive assets, there isn't another team that can match the Thunder's present and promising future.
That's the beauty of this year's draft for the Thunder.
It's a luxury to have a lottery pick.
Oklahoma City, for example, won 26 more games than Philadelphia but is selecting only one spot behind the Sixers. Rarely does that happen.
Even in a draft that is short on star players, the Thunder will walk into Thursday night in great position to add to its stable of talent.
In addition to Carter-Williams, options with the 12th pick could include Gonzaga forward/center Kelly Olynyk, Pittsburgh center Steven Adams, Indiana, forward/center Cody Zeller and UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad.
Best of all for the Thunder is this draft also will be a chance to add cheap labor, players who can develop while being relatively inexpensive or not costing the Thunder a thing if they sign overseas.
The picks might not pay off next season.
But in time, the players the Thunder come away with Thursday night could be critical to the team in the win-loss column.