The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be evaluated.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were expected to be in a rebuilding year after trading away Russell Westbrook to Houston for Chris Paul and draft picks. Instead, the Thunder were invited inside bubble for the NBA’s restart in July, earning a spot in the playoffs. They were ousted in seven games in the first round by those same Rockets whom they dealt with before the season began.
Chris Paul, who was expected to be traded midseason to further the Thunder’s rebuild, cemented his position as one of the best leaders in the NBA. He led a OKC team left to die to within one game of beating the team which stripped them of their biggest asset.
Their lone draft pick last year turned into Darius Bazley, a guard who went into the 2019 NBA Draft straight out of high school, via trade. After the season, head coach Billy Donovan’s contract was not extended, meaning the Thunder will be drafting two players for a brand new coach.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two picks in the 2020 NBA Draft
First Round: Pick No. 25
Second Round: Pick No. 53
Playmaking- Despite Chris Paul’s resurgence and prowess in the passing game, OKC was second-to-last in assists per game last season. This team needs a natural passer in the worst way, to really take this offense to the next level.
Scoring- The Thunder shoot the ball relatively well, as they are firmly in the middle of the pack in shooting percentage. The problem is they still are not scoring enough, as they ranked 22nd in points per game. This means they need a scorer who can let it rip quickly and accurately.
Round 1, Pick No. 25: Jahmi’us Ramsey, PG/SG (Texas Tech)
Jahmi’us Ramsey scores well, and he scores often. Not only that, but he creates his own shot as well as anyone in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Last season, Ramsey shot 42.1 percent from three-point range as he averaged 15.5 points per game. His handles are already NBA-level and he can pull up from anywhere. The main issue with Ramsey’s game is his play around the rim, which is odd considering he is not short for his position at 6-foot-4.
He definitely works better as a shooting guard in the Thunder’s system, as his assists are nothing to write home about when he plays at the point. But a lot of his assist woes are due to his shooting ability. Ramsey never really needs to pass because he shoots off the catch immediately. Perhaps that can be coached up as well, but his shot-making can intrigue OKC more than enough for them to draft him.
Round 2, Pick No. 53: Cassius Winston, PG (Michigan St.)
It is hard to argue against taking a center in this draft, as it is replete with big men. But according to the draft profile laid out here, the Thunder need a playmaker more than a center here.
Whether or not Cassius Winston will be available at this selection is essentially a coin flip. The point is, however, if he is available here the Thunder must take him. His passing ability is NBA-ready, as he averaged just under six assists per game last season.
As he was asked to do much more in college than he will be in the NBA, his scoring numbers will absolutely take a dip from 18.6. But in lieu of those, the Thunder can turn Winston into a pure passer with the best of them.
Featured image courtesy of Oklahoma City Thunder
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