The first round of Thursday night’s NBA Draft was not the swap meet some had envisioned. There was little movement. Ricky Rubio slipped a bit. Tyreke Evans rose a bit. Chase Budinger disappeared.
Bottom line: The Thunder got what it wanted in Arizona State shooting guard James Harden. The Thunder did it the old-fashioned way. Thunder general manager Sam Presti had the No. 3 overall pick, and he picked Harden. No need to pick Rubio and trade down. No need to pull a rabbit out of a hat. There was no hole card. Presti wanted Harden, and got him. By doing so, there should be no more questions as to whether Russell Westbrook is truly the Thunder’s point guard. Rubio and a half-dozen other top-notch point guards were available, and Presti passed. There were just three first-round trades on draft night. Teams seemed to be standing pat. Presti shrugged when asked if that surprised him. "Every draft is different,” Presti said. "They kind of ebb and flow. There’s no way to predict them.” The Thunder did work a deal to get Ohio State center B.J. Mullens from Dallas, which picked one spot ahead of the Thunder at No. 24. In the second round, the Thunder purchased UAB shooting guard Robert Vaden for cash considerations. When all was said and done, Presti met with local reporters in the team’s practice facility at 11:15 p.m. Presti was wearing a fancy suit and a big smile.