Each draft during the Thunder’s rebuild is going to be very crucial to their long-term success, which is what this rebuild is all about. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s general manager has preached how important it is to stay patient during the rebuild. Presti has also stated in interviews how the goal is to have "extraordinary success." To have that type of success, the Thunder are going to have to build through the draft, which can be very challenging. Being a small market team like the Thunder means that it is very unlikely to get a highly sought-after free agent. In another interview Presti stated that the Thunder are a "draft and develop organization."
The Oklahoma City Thunder have picks 6, 16, 18, 34, 36, and 55 in the upcoming 2021 NBA draft. The thought of six new rookies coming in from one draft is quite mind boggling, it is a very real possibility that the Thunder trade up at some point during the draft, whether that be a top four pick or even just a package that consist of trading the 34th, and 36th pick to move up a few spots in the second round.
The upcoming prospects in the 2021 draft are very intriguing. The Thunder can go many different directions with who they chose, and what type of players they chose. Will they go all in on high upside players like they did last season with Pokusevski, or will they go with a few prospects who can contribute to the NBA right away. The Thunder has the luxury to go many different routes in the upcoming draft.
At this point of the rebuild The Thunder will likely go with who they feel is the best player available, which could mean the prospect who has the highest potential out of the remaining prospects on the board.
As shown last season, whichever prospects are selected will get an opportunity to develop throughout the season. Whether that being through the G-League, getting NBA minutes or both. It will be a top priority for the Thunder during the next season.
Though the Thunder did not get the top four pick they were hoping for after finishing the season 22-50, it is possibly very crucial that they hit with their top pick. It is very possible that the Thunder will not have as high of odds to get a top four pick as they did during this last season. The Thunder had a 15-21 heading into the all-star break, which is no playoff contender, but also not a team that has a high chance of getting a top four pick. After the all-star break (with SGA, Hill, and Horford out of the lineup) They had a 7-29 record. I am saying this because with SGA out it was very apparent that the Thunder was not finding their way in the win column as often.
The 2021 draft is the beginning of plethora of picks the Thunder have acquired over the past couple years. For example, the Thunder have the Suns (top 12 protected), unprotected Clippers 1st round pick, and their own pick if it is in the lottery. If the pick does not land in the lottery it will convey to the Atlanta Hawks, this pick was a part of the Thunder Acquiring Dennis Schroder in 2018.
The Thunder’s rebuild is like one we have never seen before, and July 29th marks the beginning of the rebuild. There is no set timeline on how long the Thunder will go without competing for a championship, but it is made clear by Sam Presti that the goal is to someday build a championship caliber team through the draft. The 2021 NBA draft plays a key role in the journey to "extraordinary success" for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s future.