Another guy whose projections place him a bit out of OKC’s range (mid-teens), but it’s not inconceivable to imagine him tumbling. And if he’s there at 21, it may be hard for the Thunder to pass him up. He’s a smooth 6-foot-8 lefty with NBA range on his jumper. One of the better shooters in this draft. And OKC is on the lookout for those.
James Young, Kentucky guard/forward
One of about 97 NBA prospects John Calipari has lured to Lexington the past few seasons. Young is best remembered for his ferocious slam in the national title game a few months ago, but he really had a solid all-around freshman season — 14.3 points per game with a few monster outings. His shooting percentages weren’t great, but the smooth and bouncy lefty flashed loads of potential. Not an ideal fit, but tough to pass up the talent if he’s available for OKC.
Shabazz Napier, UConn point guard
If the Thunder is set on bringing in a veteran shooting guard to take up some minutes next season, a solid third point guard isn’t imperative. But if Reggie Jackson is going to start or get the bulk of his time at the two, then another ballhandler is a must. And Napier is as good a candidate as any. He’s quick and explosive with a competitive fire lauded by all. He’s a great finisher around the rim and a potentially solid NBA shooter (40 percent from three the past two seasons). Plus, he went to UConn and won a title under Kevin Ollie.
T.J. Warren, N.C. State forward
At 24.8 points per game last season, he was the third-leading scorer in the country. He’s a highly skilled offensive force, known for his ability to get buckets in a variety of ways. But he’s not a great defender and not a great outside shooter (31 percent from 3-point range in his two years at NC State). Those are the two skills OKC is likely looking for to fill out its perimeter rotation.
K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
Likely a guy the Thunder could wait and pick up at 29. And we know they’re at least mildly interested. McDaniels was in OKC for a workout recently. He’s known most for his rare athleticism, which he uses best on the defensive end. ESPN’s Chad Ford labeled him a ‘lockdown defender’ and ‘amazing shotblocker for his size.’ Intriguing qualities, but sounds a lot like Andre Roberson.
Dario Saric, Croatian forward
Was expected to be a late lottery pick. And with his talent and size, he still could be. But less than a week before the draft, Saric tossed in a monkey wrench. ESPN reported on Monday morning that Saric agreed in principle to a deal with a Turkish team and will stay overseas for at least two more seasons. In a draft ripe with immediate impact players, that sours his stock a bit. And because of that, it’s possible he falls to OKC, a franchise that has always maintained a steady eye on the future.