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Reports: Thunder considering moving up in NBA Draft to take LaMelo Ball

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2017 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly interested in drafting LaMelo Bell.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported Monday morning that the Thunder and other teams discuss the possibility of moving up in the upcoming NBA draft to take LaMelo Ball first overall.

Ball is trending towards being the first overall pick taken by either the Timberwolves or a team that trades with them.

The other teams associated with the Thunder in terms of interest are the Bulls and Pistons.

Ball spent last season with the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks, where the 19-year-old averaged 17 PPG, 6.8 APG, and 7.6 RPG on 37.5/ 25.0/ 72.3 shooting splits into 12 games.

LaMelo Ball is the youngest of the three Ball brothers. Lonzo Ball is currently with the Pelicans, and LiAngelo Ball is with the Thunder’s G-League team — The Oklahoma City Blue.

This news is a bit surprising. The Thunder value high character guys who can help build on their strong culture, and LaMelo has a questionable personality and potential to cause off-court issues.

The Thunder have spent years strengthening their PR and have been very careful with bringing in guys who could cause chaos in their locker room.

This news is also surprising because the Thunder are already willing to spend some of their draft assets moving up in the draft. This makes it seem like the Thunder will not just wait and see through their rebuild. They will be very active and take the initiative to collect talent.

This is a smart approach to take as franchise cornerstone Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is already 22 and about to enter his third season in the NBA. Being patient and waiting to complete their rebuild could create a problematic situation down the line where Shai’s prime is wasted on non-playoff teams, and could want out of OKC due to that.

A Shai-LaMelo backcourt oozes potential, and both of their primes should simultaneously begin at the same stage. The Thunder would arguably have the youngest backcourt in league with the most potential.