What impact would each potential NBA Draft pick have on the OKC Thunder?

Darnell Mayberry Modified: June 8, 2009 at 4:57 am •  Published: June 8, 2009
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Strengths: Savvy offensive player. 3-point shooting. Versatile. Unselfish. Good passer. Solid rebounder. Knows how to score. Efficient. Gets to the free throw line. Finishes at the rim. Creates his own shot. Sets up teammates.

Weaknesses: Average athleticism. High turnovers. Passive at times.

How he'd fit: Harden has the potential to compete for the starting shooting guard spot from Day 1 because of his instincts for the game and ability to score. He is almost the exact opposite of current starter Thabo Sefolosha, whose impact begins on the defensive end and is a work-in-progress offensively. There are questions about whether Harden will be able to defend in the NBA. It remains to be seen if those questions have any merit, but we do know Harden would be protected on the wing with the Thunder thanks to willing defenders Sefolosha, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.

Stock report: Up. He might no longer be the consensus third best prospect he once was, but he's so sure he'll go in the top five that he won't work out for any team drafting after the fifth selection.

Chances he joins Thunder: 70 percent.

+/- Wins/losses: 4-5 wins.

BLAKE GRIFFIN

School: Oklahoma.

Position: Power forward.

Height: 6-10

Weight: 248.

2008-09 averages: 22.7 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 bpg, 1.1 spg.

Strengths: Strong. Amazing athlete. Good size. Tough. Hard worker. Exceptional rebounder. Efficient offensively. Great finisher at the rim. Good passer and ball-handler. Good footwork. Unselfish. Plays with passion.

Weaknesses: Outside shooting. Poor free-throw shooter. Average defensively. Average post-up moves.

How he'd fit: The Thunder needs Griffin's interior skills perhaps more than any other lottery team. Nenad Krstic is a pick-and-pop shooter and below average rebounder, Nick Collison is primarily a rebounder and Malik Rose and Robert Swift could be on their way out of town. Griffin wouldn't step in and be a lock down post defender, but his knack for rebounding and scoring in the post would take loads of pressure off Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. The biggest question is what will Griffin's addition mean for incumbent starter Jeff Green? Does Durant move back to shooting guard and Green move to small forward? Does Green move to the bench? Either way, it sounds like one of those good "problems."

Stock report: Up. It's good to be Blake Griffin.

Chances he joins Thunder: 0.1 percent.

+/- Wins/losses: 6-8 wins.

TYREKE EVANS

School: Memphis.

Position: Point guard/shooting guard.

Height: 6-5.

Weight: 220.

2008-09 averages: 17.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.1 spg, 0.8 bpg.

Strengths: Great size. Good athleticism. Can play and defend multiple positions. Exceptional scorer. Creates for others. Good rebounder.

Weaknesses: Decision-making. Free throw shooting. 3-point shooter. Shot selection. Can dominate the ball. Turnover prone.

How he'd fit: While many fans want a "true point guard," the idea of adding another combo guard to the mix isn't necessarily a bad way to go. Russell Westbrook could remain at point guard while Evans plays off the ball. But Evans would give the Thunder another capable ball-handler who can set up the offense and initiate scoring opportunities. He's big enough to play shooting guard alongside Westbrook and can defend the off-guard spot as well. OKC would also become even longer and more athletic by adding Evans, making the Thunder tougher to match up with. Imagine a situational lineup of Evans, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

Stock report: Up. In a draft heavy on talented point guard prospects, Evans could separate himself because of his ability to slide over and play shooting guard.

Chances he joins Thunder: 25 percent.

+/- Wins/losses: 5-7 wins.

DeMAR DEROZAN

School: Southern California.

Position: Shooting guard.

Height: 6-6.

Weight: 210.

2008-09 averages: 13.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.9 spg.

Strengths: Great size for his position. Tremendous athleticism. Finishes with authority at the basket. Good in transition. Upside. Rebounding.

Weaknesses: Perimeter shooting. Defense. Raw offensively. Playmaking skills. Decision-making.

How he'd fit: Sandwiched between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, DeRozan seemingly is the perfect shooting guard...if he's able to reach his potential. He has the size and athleticism to develop into a player who can defend multiple positions and would serve as the lethal complement on the wing in the Thunder's transition game. He'll only be 20 when next season starts, suggesting there is plenty of potential to tap into. If the Thunder is patient and works with him to develop his shooting skills and defensive fundamentals he could turn into something special. In the meantime, Thabo Sefolosha returning as the starter would be more than suitable while DeRozan learns the ropes.

Stock report: Up. After "reaching" last year on Westbrook at No. 4, could the Thunder again make a bold selection and take DeRozan outright at No. 3?

Chances he joins Thunder: 40 percent.

+/- Wins/losses: 1-2 wins.

STEPHEN CURRY

School: Davidson

Position: Point guard/shooting guard.

Height: 6-3.

Weight: 180.

Strengths: Exceptional perimeter shooter. Can score from every spot on the court. Extremely savvy player. Proven leader. Unselfish. Tremendous foul shooter. Can play both guard positions.

Weaknesses: Undersized. Lacks strength. Lacks upside. Average quickness. Defense.

How he'd fit: Curry doesn't figure to be a starting shooting guard at the next level, and there are questions about whether he can play point guard full time. But the Thunder could use Curry as a spark plug off the bench, something it sorely lacked last season, and employ him as a spot-up shooter and emergency point guard in other situations. Curry is crafty enough offensively to make up for his lack of size and strength. But he had the ball in his hands the majority of time in college. How effective he can be without dominating the ball likely will be a big factor in how successful he is in the NBA.

Stock report: Up. Despite his limitations, high-scoring teams in the lottery such as the Warriors and Knicks appear to be lining up for his services.

Chances he joins Thunder: Five percent.

+/- Wins/losses: 2-3 wins.



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