The NBA Draft is a few days away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the Oklahoma City Thunder 2018 NBA Draft profile.
The Thunder made some moves to acquire Carmelo Anthony and Paul George before last season. WIth those players paired with Russell Westbrook there were high expectations for Oklahoma City. Ultimately, the season was underwhelming, as they finished with the fourth seed in the Western Conference, sporting a 48-34 record.
They matched up with the Utah Jazz in the playoffs and looked to be the favorite in the series. Oklahoma City was able to win the first game, but dropped four of their next five to get bounced out of the playoffs. It was especially disappointing because the Jazz were thought to be in a rebuilding year. Donovan Mitchell was able to help change that and was the key to defeating the Thunder.
During the regular season, OKC ranked pretty highly in most team stats. They were 12th in points per game at 107.9, fifth in rebounds per game with 45.1 and 10th in points allowed per game at 104.4. However, they did finish poorly in assists per game at 21.3 and three-point percentage at 23rd in the league, shooting 35.5%.
The future of the Thunder is a bit uncertain and they will be in storylines one way or another. While Westbrook and Steven Adams are locked up for years to come, Anthony has an early termination option and George has a player option. A lot of the offseason of OKC will be determined by these players and their decisions.
Picks and Needs
Oklahoma City has two picks in the 2018 NBA draft, but they are both in the late second round.
Second round: No. 53, No. 57
With the team waiting on decisions of George and Anthony, it is hard to nail down a team need based on position. They will likely need to address the backup point guard position, as Raymond Felton isn’t under contract for next year and can be improved upon. This should help the assists per game and help Westbrook get more of a rest.
Outside of a specific position, the Thunder need shooting. If they can spread the floor better, Westbrook can be even more effective. Whoever they get to help fill this need will get plenty of open shots and just need to be locked and loaded to knock them down.
Targets and Thoughts
Pick No. 53: Keenan Evans, PG, Texas Tech
Evans can help fill the need for a backup point guard. He was really elevated his game in his senior year as a Red Raider with 17.6 points per game. Not only did he score, but he also defended well, which is one of the main reasons he will be drafted.
His three-point shooting was off this past season, although Evans was injured at different points in the season. Now that he is healthy, it is safe to assume that his shooting will resemble his junior season where he shot 43.2% from deep. This will help the Thunder address the shooting need. He adds value to the Thunder because he can play point when Westbrook is out and play off-ball when he is in.
Pick No. 57: Kenrich Williams, F, TCU
Nick Collison is retiring, while Jerami Grant, George and Anthony all could leave via free agency. They will not be able to replace all that is lost here with this pick but can help get depth in the frontcourt.
Williams can play the three or be a small-ball four because of his ability to hit outside shots. He hit 39.5% of his three-point field goals last year at TCU. With continued improvement in that area, he could present matchup problems for defenses, who will have to stretch out to cover him.