OKC Thunder: Opinions vary on quality of Thunder draftees

Oklahoma City selected three 19-year-olds and one 21-year old underclassmen, none of whom is expected to contribute immediately on a team figured to once again challenge for the NBA crown next season.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: June 28, 2013

Opinions varied considerably on how to grade the Thunder's selections in Thursday night's NBA Draft, but such usually is the case when a team is stockpiling talent.

Impatient critics tend to grade more harshly than those willing to wait.

“In order to maintain, build and enhance an elite organization, it's imperative that we continue to layer young talent into our organization as we move forward,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti explained at 12:10 a.m. Friday. “Tonight was another opportunity to do that.”

OKC selected three 19-year-olds and one 21-year-old underclassman, none of whom is expected to contribute immediately on a team figured to once again challenge for the NBA crown next season.

The first opportunity to judge the Thunder's selections will come July 7-12 when the 10-team Orlando Pro Summer League is held on the practice court at Amway Center.

OKC's summer league roster has yet to be finalized, but it's likely that center Steven Adams (No. 12 overall selection), forward Andre Roberson (No. 26) and power forward Grant Jerrett (No. 40) will participate. Shooting guard Alex Abrines (No. 32) will play pro ball in Spain next season and will not partake.

Other Thunder players expected to compete in Orlando are guards Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and DeAndre Liggins, forward Perry Jones III and center Daniel Orton.

The Thunder was looking for an inside presence and certainly found it in the 7-foot, 255-pound Adams, a 19-year-old New Zealander who played one collegiate season at Pittsburgh. Some consider Adams the most raw prospect taken in the first round.

“It's very, very hard to find guys who can protect the basket and are physical,” Presti said. “This is a young player, but this is a physical player. He understands that he has a long way to go.”

The 6-foot-7, 206-pound Roberson is a high-flyer with an energy level similar to three-time All-Star Russell Westbrook.

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