In SBNation’s Mock Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder came away with three first-round prospects that the fanbase would be ecstatic to get.
This piece will talk about each selection and the overall thoughts behind it.
This article by Ricky O’Donnell gives info ranking the best 30 players drafted in this year’s mock draft.
For clarification, trading picks were not allowed during this process to keep it simple, so that means OKC could only select 6th, 16th, and 18th.
6th pick: Scottie Barnes
Considering Barnes’ rapidly growing stock in most mock drafts, taking him sixth would be a big win for the Thunder. Barnes is projected to be a wing who is a versatile defender and can facilitate the offense; this, along with his fiery passion and energy, is drawing many Draymond Green comparisons.
His weaknesses include hit shooting and lack of scoring ability, as he shot just 27.5% from three in Florida State last season. Our own J.D. Tailor went deeper when it came to Barnes’ profile.
Obviously, with the Thunder rebuilding, it would be better suited to find a co-star and scorer to pair with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but luck was not on their side on lottery night as they ended up picking six. But considering everything, ending up with Barnes would be a nice consolation prize, to say the least.
16th pick: Keon Johnson
This is mostly a value pick. Many questions surround Johnson’s ability to stick in the NBA due to how raw a player he is, but his elite athleticism is no joke.
Johnson is one of the riskier lotteries picks discussed, and I would not be willing to stomach taking a chance on him in the top 10.
But at 16, the value is fat too great to ignore. If Johnson falls this much, the Thunder should be excited to land a player with a high, All-Star level ceiling at 16.
Johnson is a high boom or bust potential player, and considering the draft pick and where the Thunder currently is in its rebuild, the team has a lot of room for error when it comes to developing this very raw but very athletic guard.
18th pick: Isaiah Jackson
Jackson classifies as your modern-day, rim-running big who should be able to protect the rim well if he pans out. Jackson averaged 2.6 blocks a game, with Kentucky last season coming off the bench.
Considering how drive-heavy SGA appears to be for his scoring, he would be the perfect P&R partner that SGA should be able to dish out some lobs to.
The biggest weakness of Jackson’s game is shooting. His jumper is nonexistent, and there is a risk of him being unplayable in the playoffs due to the opposition sagging off of him in half-court sets.
But that should not stop OKC from drafting him at 18th overall. If he can develop a floater midrange shot, that will be a bonus to an already useful player.
As the 18th overall pick, this is another good selection if Jackson reaches his full potential. Finding a starting-caliber big who can be spoon-fed his buckets while protecting the paint on the other end is great value in the second half of the first round.
Jackson has also shown flashes of being able to guard the perimeter and stay with guards. If this skill can grow, he will fit in seamlessly as the Thunder’s next starting center.
So there you have it, the Thunder’s three first-round selections were:
6th: Scottie Barnes
16th: Keon Johnson
18th: Isaiah Jackson
How would you feel is this is how the draft panned out for the Thunder?
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