In the past, the Thunder have been pretty raucous on draft night. They’ve traded up and down. They’ve made some head scratchers that turned into great picks (Andre Roberson) and others that leave you questioning what happened (Byron Mullens, Cole Aldridge, Perry Jones, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne).

Well, the Thunder won’t be initially active in the first round this season. The 19th pick in the draft was initially Oklahoma City’s but they traded it to Utah in exchange for Enes Kanter, who then in turn traded it to Minnesota for Ricky Rubio. Had the Thunder finished 20th or higher, they would’ve kept the pick but alas, they didn’t. So, Minnesota gets the draft pick.

However, the Thunder do have a couple of picks. They’re very late in the second round but they’re something. There have been a couple of late round picks that turned into quality players. The most recent: Isaiah Thomas. He was taken last in the 2011 draft.

Othe notables who had decent careers or active

  • 2013, 55th overalL: Joffrey Lauvergne
  • 2012: 49th overall: Kyle O’Quinn
  • 2011: 55th overall: E’Twaun Moore
  • 2011: 60th overall: Isaiah Thomas
  • 2009: 55th overall: Patty Mills
  • 2007: 56th overall: Ramon Sessions
  • 2005: 56th overall: Amir Johnson
  • 2005: 57th overall: Macin Gortat
  • 2002: 56th overall: Luis Scola

So, the choices are slim and and not many over the years. However, it’s possible. What we do know is unless this player has as fantastic camp, he’s most likely going to end up across the street at the Cox Center, playing for the OKC Blue.

Assets

Draft picks

  • 2018 53rd overall pick
  • 2018 57th overall pick (from Boston in PJ3 trade)
  • 2019 First round
  • 2019 second round
  • 2020 second round

A thing to note, You cannot trade consecutive first round picks, also known as the Stepian rule. Oklahoma City already has traded the 2018 first round pick and the 2020 first round pick, so that 2019 pick can really only be dealt on draft night next season.

Potential trade pieces

Kyle Singler – two years, $10.3 million (team option, non-gauranteed second year)

Dakari Johnson – one year, $1.4 million

Unsigned draft picks

First Round: None

Second-rounders: DeVon Hardin (2008-50th), Yotam Halperin (2006-53rd), Sofoklis Schortsanitis (2003-34th), Szymon Szewczyk (2003-35th), Paccelis Morlende (2003-50th), Abdul Shamsid-Deen (1990-53rd)

Trade Exceptions

  • Trade Exception (Domantas Sabonis, expiring July 6, 2018) — $2,550,000
  • Trade Exception (Victor Oladipo, expiring July 6, 2018) — $1,491,042

As you see, there aren’t really a lot of options for the Thunder to move players. A couple of picks but in reality, the assets aren’t there. Oklahoma City is notorious for letting trade exceptions expire.

Draft Prospects

Here are a few players that are being linked with the Thunder from mock drafts and other “experts” around the world wide web

Rawle Alkins

Age: 21
Height: 6-4
Weight: 225
Position: Shooting Guard
School: Arizona
Stats: 13.1 points on 43.2% FG, 35.9% 3PT, 4.8 rebounds

Alkins is being called a sleeper. So, maybe all the interviews with Sports Illustrated and the Ringer might make him go higher than No. 57. The No. 21 recruit in 2017 out of New York, Alkins may not be the brightest star in Arizona’s studded lineup. He didn’t quite show up in the NCAA Tournament for Arizona. Alkins was once an early second round pick if he’d left his freshman year but has dropped staying another year.

Malik Newman

Age: 21
Height: 6-4
Weight: 190
Position: Shooting Guard
School: Kansas
Stats: 14.2 points on 46.3% FG, 41.5% 3PT and 5.0 rebounds

Newman is well known around these parts. He’s been a part of a Kansas crew who’s been terrorizing the state for a couple of years. This could be a really good fit for Oklahoma City. He’s been projected at 53rd. He’s a solid shooter but lacks size. At 6-4, he’s a bit undersized at the two-guard but didn’t play a lot of point guard at Kansas. That could be a steep learning curve for the 21-year old. I think if it’s the right fit, Newman could become a solid rotational player.

Donte Grantham

Age: 23
Height: 6-8
Weight: 216
Position: Power Forward
School: Clemson
Stats: 14.2 points on 56% FG, 41.9% 3PT and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Grantham tore his ACL back in January and could be ready by camp from the reports. Sports Illustrated says someone has promised to draft Grantham in the second round. Oklahoma City has a big history of promising players draft picks. He’s a solid player in the ACC but really was undersized for the four position. At only 216 lbs., he’d get pushed around by almost anyone in the NBA. For reference, Serge Ibaka is 240 lbs.

Justin Jackson

Age: 21
Height: 6-7
Weight: 225
Position: Wing
School: Maryland
Stats: 9.9 points on 36.6% FG, 25% 3PT and 8.1 rebounds per game

The wing player out of Maryland was once a Top 40 high school career, he missed most of this season with a torn labrum. That caused his numbers to drop as he tried to play through the injury before missing the final 21 games of the season. He shot over 40 percent from the field and almost 38 percent from three when he was healthy. He’s not super consistent and really wasn’t used on the defensive side, hiding him a lot.

Obi Enechionyia

Age: 22
Height: 6-10
Weight: 220
Position: Small Forward
School: Temple
Stats: 10.8 points on 38.1% FG, 35% 3PT grabbing 5.8 rebounds and blocking 1.4 shots per game

Enchionyia had a chance at playing soccer but chose basketball instead. His time at Temple was productive and he’s a quality candidate but I’ll be surprised if Enchionyia is even drafted. He’s a tall small foward with great length but he’s a defensive liability despite his blocking rate. He doesn’t move well off the ball but can get shots up quickly if he gets hot.

Devon Hall

Age: 21
Height: 6-6
Weight: 204
Position: Shooting Guard
School: Virginia
Stats: 11.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 43.2% 3FG

He’s not projected to go anywhere in the second round. However, scouts raved about him at the NBA combine. He’s not the best offensive player but he’s a hard nosed worker who learned defensive fundamentals at Virginia. That could go along way in the NBA. He shot over 43 percent from three and in the league where space and pace is key.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Age: 21
Height: 6-8
Weight: 205
Position: Combo wing
School: Kansas
Stats: 14.6 points on 43.4% FG, 44% 3PT

Mykhailiuk is a perfect draft and stash player. He’s probably not going to make it in the NBA as he’s just a sharp shooter with no real other abilities. He doesn’t move off the ball well. He doesn’t defend. However, he can get super hot and hit 5-6 threes in a row. That would be key for someone like the Thunder, who struggled a lot over the last few years hitting threes. Mykhailiuk could play over seas for a year or two before coming over to the Thunder ala, Alex Abrines.

Aaron Holiday

Age: 21
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185
Position: Point Guard
School: UCLA
Stats: 20.3 points on 46.1% FG, 42.9% 3PT and 5.8 assists per game.

I doubt Holiday is around for the Thunder at 53. I’ll be honest. I’d like to see them trade up and secure him. He’s the brother of Jrue Holiday and was nothing but solid at UCLA. It would be nice to give Russell Westbrook a capable back up if we know for sure Raymond Felton isn’t returning to Oklahoma City. He has a high turnover rate, which probably came from his touches. I see a mini-Westbrook all over Holiday.


The NBA Draft is Thursday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The Thunder probably won’t see their name called until about 8:45 p.m. Unless they trade up, which is a legitimate possibility. If the Thunder don’t, we’ll see them pick at No. 53 and No. 57, respectively. We’ll have your complete coverage of the draft and the Sam Presti post draft press conference as well.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.