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What will the OKC Thunder do with its first-round pick?

NBA Draft: Here are five potential draft targets for the Thunder at No. 28.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 26, 2012

The days of the Oklahoma City Thunder living off lottery picks are officially over.

For the second straight season, the Thunder will not have a selection in the top 20 picks of the NBA Draft, forget about the first 14.

Oklahoma City is slated to select 28th overall in Thursday night's draft. It's the lowest first-round selection in franchise history, including the Seattle years. There have been studs, like Tony Parker in 2001, at selection 28, and that slot has seen its share of duds, like Maurice Ager in 2006.

The odds of the Thunder landing the next Parker are slim. But this year's draft class is one of the deepest in years, and there should be plenty of value left for the Thunder at 28 if the team holds on to its pick.

Here's a look at five players the Thunder could be targeting at 28.


College: St. Bonaventure

Position: Power forward

Height: 6-9

Weight: 235

2011-12 stats: 18.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 1.0 apg

Strengths: Nicholson is a skilled big man who flew under the radar for a mid-major program. But by all accounts, he could be a steal in the latter part of the first round. He has an incredible 7-foot-4 wingspan, and uses it well with an inside-out offensive game that makes him an intriguing prospect. He has a soft shooting touch out to the 3-point line, which could someday turn him into a good pick-and-pop threat. But he's an efficient scorer. He never shot less than 56.4 percent from the field. Nicholson also has good timing as a shot blocker. And the fact that he didn't take up basketball until late in high school suggests there's plenty of room for him to continue developing despite playing four years of college.

Weaknesses: He lacks strength. In the NBA, he could struggle to establish and hold his spot in the low post, which might turn him into primarily a jump shooter. His consistency is a question mark. Will he play hard every time down the court? He's also turnover-prone and is not a good passer. He registered just 87 assists against 296 turnovers during his four seasons at St. Bonaventure.

Comparison: Channing Frye.


College: Michigan State

Position: Power forward

Height: 6-7

Weight: 235

2011-12 stats: 16.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.0 bpg

Strengths: Green can do some of everything well. He's one of the most versatile players in the draft. He rebounds at a high level, shoots it well, passes with precision and creates for teammates. And he's got the necessary intangibles to succeed. He's tough, plays with high energy and has a high basketball IQ. Green has a 7-1 wingspan, and that length could be what makes up for his lack of height for his position. Mix in the perfect blend of unselfishness, and Green has the makings of the perfect glue guy on the right team.

Weaknesses: Green's problem might be that he doesn't have a natural position in the NBA. It appears he might be too big to guard wing players and not big enough to consistently and effectively bang in the post. He's also not a great athlete. He lacks explosiveness, quickness and agility, and his body needs work. He measured in at 11.3 percent body fat. Only 18 players who were tested had more.

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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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