Thunder look long-term with 3 picks in NBA draft

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm •  Published: June 27, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City had the luxury of looking at this year's NBA draft crop from a developmental perspective.

A trip to the NBA finals, followed by the best record in the Western Conference, will do that for a team.

The Thunder looked to the future with its three picks on Thursday night, taking a pair of projects — including Pittsburgh center Steven Adams with the 12th pick — and trading for a third, more experienced, option.

The 7-foot Adams added some much-needed size for Oklahoma City, which is coming off a 60-22 season and was hoping to find a complementary piece to play alongside stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Adams was one of three selections by the Thunder, which only had such a high pick because of last year's trade that sent James Harden to Houston.

Adams was later joined in Oklahoma City by Colorado forward Andre Roberson, who was acquired in a three-team trade, and Spanish guard Alex Abrines.

Adams played just one season for the Panthers, averaging 7.2 points and 6.3 points per game while being named to the Big East All-Rookie team. He is the first New Zealander to be taken in the NBA draft, and he was especially excited to be selected by a team considered among the league's elite, one he said had a "really high chance of the playoffs next year and getting a championship."

The Thunder lost in the NBA Finals last year to Miami and had the best record in the Western Conference this season. However, Westbrook injured his right knee in a first-round win over Houston, and Oklahoma City was ousted in the second round by Memphis.

Oklahoma City had three of the first 32 picks in the draft, with No. 29 and 32 to go along with the Adams' pick. The team selected Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin with the 29th pick, but he was dealt as part of the deal that brought Roberson to the Thunder.

The 6-foot-7 Roberson averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for the Buffaloes last season, shooting 51.6 percent from the field. He was the most experienced of Oklahoma City's draft picks, having played three seasons in college, and will provide the Thunder with frontcourt depth behind starting power forward Serge Ibaka.

Abrines is currently averaging 3.4 points and 1.1 rebounds in 11 minutes per game for F.C. Barcelona. The 6-6 guard is likely to remain in Europe for a season, and he won't turn 20 until August.

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