Trade up or trade out. Package the picks for a veteran or stay put.
Thunder General Manager Sam Presti holds the 21st and 29th overall picks in Thursday night’s draft and, with them, he will have plenty of options. But for now, let’s assume Presti utilizes at least one of those selections.
Who might be around in that range? Who would fit a Thunder need in those slots? Here are 10 guys to keep an eye on:
Tyler Ennis, Syracuse point guard
He’d have to stumble a bit from his current projections, which place him somewhere in the mid- to late teens. But because of the top-to-bottom talent, that’s going to happen to somebody in this draft. And if it’s Ennis, that would seem to be a great fit for the Thunder, who now find themselves in the market for another point guard. At only 19, he showed a great feel for the game during his lone year at Syracuse, compiling a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. If he falls, OKC would be lucky to snag him.
Adreian Payne, Michigan State power forward
He’s a skilled and mature player from a winning program — two qualities the Thunder brass typically loves. Plus, as a stretch four in a league moving toward those types of players, he fills a need. At 6-foot-10, he averaged 7.3 rebounds and hit 42 percent of his 3-pointers last season. Downside: Payne’s already 23, meaning he’s older than five current Thunder players. He could provide an immediate impact, but his developmental clock has long been ticking. He probably wouldn’t last to the 29th pick. But there’s a decent shot he’s still there at 21.
Kyle Anderson, UCLA small forward
Anderson’s listed as a small forward and will likely play one of the two forward positions in the NBA. But even at 6-foot-9, he plays more like a point guard. And because of the show Boris Diaw (who has a similar game) just put on in the Finals, his stock is reportedly rising. Although he lacks high-level speed and strength, Anderson is ripe with skill. Great vision, good ballhandler, adept passer. He averaged 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists for a good UCLA team last season. Doesn’t fit a huge need on the Thunder, but seems like a skill set that could mesh with talent around him.
Clint Capela, Switzerland power forward
Capela has been compared to Serge Ibaka, which is high praise for the 19-year-old Swiss forward. But it’s still way too early in his development to project that out. At 6-11 with a 7-4 wingspan, he’s very fluid and mobile for his size. He gets off the ground quickly, runs the floor well and skies for some impressive blocks and dunks, making his YouTube reel one of the best in the draft. But he was a role player in Europe last season, getting around 20 minutes a night, and it sounds like he’s still pretty raw. A draft-and-stash possibility, and we know how the Thunder loves those.
Rodney Hood, Duke forward
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.