Thursday, January 31, 2013
The need OKC could fill in 2013 draft
There is a good chance that Oklahoma City will have Toronto's first-round pick in June's NBA draft. What players might the Thunder general manager Sam Presti target?
The pick, which came via the James Harden-Kevin Martin trade with Houston, was originally acquired by the Rockets in the Kyle Lowry deal over the summer. Unless the Raptors end up with a top 3 pick after the draft lottery, it will go to the Thunder, which main need beyond this season is an upgrade over Kendrick Perkins at center.
According to 82games.com, the Thunder are outperforming their opponents at every position this season with the exception of the center spot, where opponents have a player efficiency rating 5.9 points higher (17.6 vs. 11.7). Can you imagine how good this team could be with a league average center, even if it's just a better version of a guy like Perkins who just rebounds, defends and takes up space in the middle?!
Looking at the top centers on the Chad Ford's Big Board, three are currently projected to be top 10 picks: Kentucky's Nerlens Noel (1), Maryland's Alex Len (4) and Indiana's Cody Zeller (7). Now, the Thunder would almost certainly have to trade up to get Noel, but Len and/or Zeller could conceivably be available for them take somewhere in the middle of the lottery like picks 4-8. Others big bodies who rebound well like Mason Plumlee (12), Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein (23), France's Rudy Gobert (15), Pitt's Steven Adams (26), Louisville's Gorgui Dieng (31) and Kansas' Jeff Withey (25) are other possibilities for somewhere later in the lottery.