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The No. 1 reason for Thunder fans to root against the Raptors

OKC'S FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS: How the Thunder's return on the James Harden trade hinges on the plight of Oklahoma City's opponent Tuesday — the Toronto Raptors. The protected first-round pick explained.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 5, 2012

photo - Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) dunks that ball during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 8, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) dunks that ball during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 8, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman.

Still steaming from the James Harden trade?

Here's something you can do to help you move on.

Root against the Toronto Raptors.

Root against them not just Tuesday night against the Thunder but all season.

Root against them with the same vigor as you root for the Thunder.

It could make the deal much more bearable.

As part of the Harden trade, Oklahoma City received a first-round pick that belongs to Toronto. The Raptors sent the pick to Houston in July in exchange for point guard Kyle Lowry, and the Rockets conveyed that selection to the Thunder to acquire Harden.

The worse the Raptors do, the better that pick becomes.

But there's a catch.

There are certain conditions on which Toronto gets to retain the pick. The Raptors negotiated them into the original trade to protect themselves from relinquishing a highly coveted selection, hence the popular term “protected pick,” or “conditional pick.”

In this case, the pick is protected through the 2017 NBA Draft.

In 2013, the selection is protected from picks 1 through 3 and 15 through 30. That means the Thunder receives the pick if it's anywhere from 4 to 14.

In 2014 and 2015, the selection is protected from picks 1 and 2, as well as 15 through 30. So if the Thunder didn't receive the pick in 2013, it will receives the pick in either 2014 or 2015 if it's anywhere from 3 to 14.

In 2016 and 17, the selection is protected from pick 1 and 15 through 30. If the pick still hasn't been conveyed to the Thunder, it will be in 2016 or 2017 if it falls anywhere from pick No. 2 to pick No. 14.

In 2018, the selection becomes an unprotected pick, meaning the Thunder will receive the selection regardless of where it falls if it hasn't already been awarded the pick in any of the previous years.

For a much simpler way of understanding it, just remember that if the Raptors make the playoffs in the next five years they keep the pick. If they don't, they'll have to lose in the NBA Draft Lottery and select outside the top three in the next five drafts. In the sixth year, the pick would belong to the Thunder no matter what.

But there's a slim chance we ever see this pick take six years to land in the Thunder's hands. The Raptors finished 20 games below .500 last year and could struggle even in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs this season.

Toronto received a talent infusion this off-season, though, adding the aforementioned Lowry, as well as former New York guard Landry Fields, this year's eighth overall pick Terrence Ross and 2011 fifth overall pick Jonas Valanciunas, who has started his NBA career this season after remaining in Lithuania last year. The Raptors also have welcomed back Andrea Bargnani, arguably their best player who missed half of last year due to injuries. So it's not out of the question that the Raptors qualify for the postseason this year.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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The Thunder picked up two first-round picks in the James Harden trade.

In addition to Toronto protected first-rounder, the Thunder also landed a protected Dallas first-round selection.

That pick is top-20 protected, meaning if the Mavs land a selection anywhere from 21-30 they must convey their pick to Oklahoma City.

In this case, Thunder fans hoping to receive the Mavs' pick this year should root for Dallas to make the playoffs and have, at best, the 10th best record among playoff teams.

But the wiser approach might be to wait.

Because the Mavs pick is unprotected in 2014, it would be better for the Thunder if the Mavs landed in the top 20 this year and kept their pick. That would give OKC a chance at an even higher selection in the 2014 draft depending on how the Mavericks finish. With an aging Dirk Nowitzki, 34, the Mavs might soon be lottery-bound beyond this season.

If they are, the James Harden trade could potentially give the Thunder a lottery pick in each of the next two drafts.


A look at how some of the future draft picks Thunder GM Sam Presti once acquired panned out.

July 11, 2007: Received a 2009 second-round pick from Orlando in exchange for Rashard Lewis.

July 20, 2007: Received a 2008 and 2010 first-round pick, as well as Kurt Thomas from Phoenix in exchange for Orlando's 2009 second-round pick. The 2008 pick, No. 24 overall, turned into Serge Ibaka. The 2010 pick, No. 26 overall, turned into a package that allowed the Thunder to move up and select Cole Aldrich.

Feb. 20, 2008: Received a 2009 first-round pick, Francisco Elson and Brent Barry from San Antonio in exchange for Kurt Thomas. The pick, No. 25 overall, was ultimately packaged to move up one spot for Byron Mullens.

Jan. 7, 2009: Received a 2009 first-round pick, Chucky Atkins and cash from Denver in exchange for a 2009 second-round pick and Johan Petro.

Feb. 19, 2009: Received Thabo Sefolosha from Chicago for Denver's 2009 first-round pick. Chicago used the pick to select Taj Gibson.

July 27, 2009: Received Etan Thomas and two second-round picks from Minnesota in exchange for Damien Wilkins and Chucky Atkins.

June 23, 2010: Received Daequan Cook and the 18th pick in the 2010 draft from Miami in exchange for Minnesota's second-round pick, the 32nd overall selection. The Heat used the pick on Dexter Pittman.

June 24, 2010: Received a conditional first-round pick from the L.A. Clippers in exchange for the 18th pick in the 2010 draft. The Clippers used the pick on Eric Bledsoe.

Feb. 24, 2011: Received Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson from Boston in exchange for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and the Clippers' top-10 protected 2012 pick. The Celtics used the pick on Fab Melo.

Thunder vs. Raptors

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena

TV: FOX Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* The Thunder defeated the Raptors 91-75 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena in the lone meeting between the two teams last season.

* Toronto acquired point guard Kyle Lowry from Houston over the off-season in exchange for a future first-round pick. That pick now belongs to the Thunder after OKC acquired it from the Rockets in the James Harden trade.

* Through three games, Thunder guard Kevin Martin has made 12 of 17 3-pointers (70.6 percent) while shooting 53.1 percent from the field. Martin also is 16-for-16 from the foul line.

Projected starters

Thunder (1-2)


G;Russell Westbrook;6-3;21.3;6.0;6.7

G;Thabo Sefolosha;6-7;4.7;4.0;2.0

F;Kevin Durant;6-9;22.7;14.3;6.7

F;Serge Ibaka;6-10;8.8;6.3;0.0

C;Kendrick Perkins;6-10;3.7;4.7;1.0

Raptors (1-2)


G;Kyle Lowry;6-0;23.7;7.3;7.0

G;DeMar DeRozan;6-7;19.0;5.0;1.3

F;Landry Fields;6-7;2.3;3.3;1.7

F;Andrea Bargnani;7-0;13.0;2.3;1.3

C;Jonas Valanciunas;6-11;6.0;5.7;1.3


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