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Is Dekker Consistent Enough to Be Considered at Pick 14 for the Thunder?

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Sometimes players go on streaks. Those streaks always come to an end. This is the story of Sam Dekker.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Prospect: Sam Dekker

School: Wisconsin

DOB: 5/8/1994 (21 years old)

If you watched the NCAA tournament and the deep run by the Badgers, you couldn't help but notice Sam Dekker. The versatile forward took the tournament by storm. The question the Thunder organization will have to ask themselves is if Dekker's tournament performance was a preview of coming events or an aberration from the mean. I even remember in the gym one evening I made thirteen 3 point shots in a row. Now I would be lucky to make thirteen in a month.

Here are Dekker's stats last season with the Badgers.

Points

Rebounds

Assists

FT%

3PT%

Turnovers

13.9

5.6

1.2

70.8

33.1

0.9

Here are his adjusted per 40 stats

Points

Rebounds

Assists

FT%

3PT%

Turnovers

17.9

7.2

1.6

70.8

33.1

1.2


Strengths

1. Size

Dekker's is 6-9/219lbs. which will allow him to play the small forward position, but in smaller lineups he could even give a team some minutes at the 4. With the NBA increasing tendency to move to small ball lineups, this gives a player like Dekker a leg up.

2. Athleticism

Decker is an above average athlete who can attack the rim, take his man off the dribble, and finish in transition. It was not unusual for him to grab a rebound and take the ball coast-to-coast for the Badgers. For a team like OKC, who thrives in transition, Dekker would give the Thunder another lengthy player who could run the floor.

3. Versatility

Whether it be bringing the ball up the court, crashing the offensive glass, or hitting a pull up jumper, Dekker can impact a game in numerous ways.

Weaknesses

Dekker strengths making him intriguing, but he doesn't come with out his share of weaknesses.

1. Inconsistency

Dekker was incredibly streaky during his time at Wisconsin. When he was hot, he would put an entire team on his back and simply take over games. This however was also one of his biggest downfalls. As quickly as he would take over games, he would also be able to all but build a house with his bricks. The big question that Dekker will have to convince teams of is whether or not he is being rewarded simply because he had an incredible NCAA tournament run, or if he is his truly capable of taking the next step?

2. A Jack of All Trades but a Master of None

Dekker is a decent shooter, rebounder, passer, and does a bunch of things pretty well. However, is he truly great at anything? The Thunder need players that can fill roles or have the potential to be stars. I don't know if Dekker brings either of those skill sets to the Thunder. Many experts predict that Dekker can be a solid rotational player, and a few even predict that with NBA coaching he can become a star, but there are some definite concerns if he ever becomes more than just average player in the NBA.

3. Can He Shoot?

Dekker's 3 point percentage decreased while he was at Wisconsin (39.1, 32.6, 33.1) and he has hovered right at or just under 70% from the FT line for his career. While those numbers should increase in the NBA, they certainly pose more questions than answers regarding Dekker's future as a shot maker in the NBA.

4. Is His Draft Projection Based on a Really Good NCAA tournament?

I really enjoyed watching Dekker thrive in the tourney, as did probably everyone (outside of Kentucky fans), but just because Dekker left an emotional and exciting impact in March does not necessitate him being a lottery pick.

Why He Would Fit with the Thunder

While his weaknesses are apparent (and in my opinion far out number his strengths), Dekker would give the Thunder a back-up option in case the next season's free agency with Durant goes bad for the Thunder. I have also read that if Dekker were to hit his ceiling we could be looking at a Gordon Hayward type player. He also would allow the Thunder to have another option should the decide to go small at the power forward position.

Final Thoughts

I am not as high on Dekker as I am on other prospects. I can't get past his inconsistencies and don't know if he will ever be more than just a rotational player in the NBA. I think the Thunder need to get more than that out of a lottery pick. I would love however to be proven wrong.

If Dekker were to hit his ceiling, the comparisons are being made to Gordon Hayward.