The NBA Draft is one of the most anticipated events on the NBA Calendar. It is the place where dreams are made for young basketball players and teams alike. It is also the place where fans are vociferous in their displeasure if they do not like the pick that their team has made.
The 2020 NBA Draft will be held on November 18 and I thought that it would be a good time to take a look at prospects who would be well suited to the Thunder’s needs in the Draft. To be totally clear, these are not players who the Thunder have interviewed, these are players who I believe would fit nicely into Oklahoma City's young core.
My scouting focus in this year's Draft is about fixing a long-standing Thunder issue. For years, the Thunder’s floor spacing has been hindered by defenses not respecting the shot of Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson and Hamidou Diallo. It makes a lot of sense to fix this issue in this current Draft by taking a 3&D wing.
There is not one outstanding blue chip prospect in the 2020 Draft like there has been in previous years. There is no Luka Doncic or Ja Morant; a player who can legitimately change the fate of a franchise is in short supply this year. Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Obi Toppin are all talented players but they come with question marks.
However, I believe this draft will be good for finding players who can grow into being valuable role players on a good team. It is easy to envisage a player like Saddiq Bey or Kira Lewis supplementing a star. The Thunder should not try and rush the rebuild; there is no sense in trading into the top five to take a guy whose game may not translate well to the NBA.
In my mind, it makes sense to focus on finding a quality wing and then start looking for a blue chip prospect in 2021 or 2022. In the next few years, there will be a wealth of talent coming from the collegiate level and the international game. A lot of well respected scouts and draft experts believe that the top end of the Draft in 2021 or 2022 is significantly stronger than the top end in 2020.
I am not saying that the Thunder do not need to make any moves at all. I am a firm believer that the Thunder will need to make a trade to acquire at least two of the wings that I have identified on my list. However, this would be a small scale move and would not require a lot of assets to make a trade work.
In a Draft where quality is perceived to be low, teams will be willing to make moves to secure future assets which then can be used down the line to position themselves better for 2021 or 2022. Oklahoma City would only have to go from late first round to late lottery to secure one of the wings who I think the Thunder should take.
Over the course of the last weeks, I have whittled a list of potential picks down to just six people. My list is as follows below:
Devin Vassell - 6’5, 175 lbs, Sophomore out of Florida State
Aaron Nesmith - 6’6, 215 lbs, Sophomore out of Vanderbilt
Saddiq Bey - 6’8, 216 lbs, Sophomore out of Villanova
Josh Green - 6’5, 205 lbs, Freshman out of Arizona
Jaden McDaniels - 6’9, 195 lbs, Freshman out of Washington
Leandro Bolmaro - 6’6, 180 lbs, FC Barcelona Lassa