Oklahoma City Thunder Draft Preview



Dustin McLaughlin (@ThunderDustin) contributed to this article. 

Draft picks:  25, 28, 53

Team needs: Point-guard, Combo-guard, Switchable big

State of the franchise:

  • A Chris Paul trade could shape the direction of the 2020-21 season
  • Thunder have a plethora of picks for the next 4 years
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a cornerstone guard
  • Billy Donovan left; Mark Daigneault (rookie) is the new Head Coach
  • Presti could be possibly looking to tank, or strategically position, for higher picks in the 2021 and 2022 drafts

Players under contract for 2020-2021:

  • Guards
    • Chris Paul
    • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Wings
    • Darius Bazley
    • Luguentz Dort
    • Terrence Ferguson
  • Bigs
    • Steven Adams
    • Isaiah Roby

Players with options: 

  • Hamidou Diallo (team)
  • Abdel Nader (team)
  • Deonte Burton (team)
  • Mike Muscala (player)

Free Agents(s):

  • Kevin Hervey (restricted)
  • Andre Roberson (unrestricted)
  • Danilo Gallinari (unrestricted)
  • Nerlens Noel (unrestricted)

Past 5 drafts:

  • 2015: 
    • #14 — Cameron Payne
    • #48 — Dakari Johnson
  • 2016
    •  N/A
  • 2017: 
    • #21 — Terrance Ferguson
  • 2018: 
    • #53 — Devon Hall
    • #57 — Kevin Hervey
  • 2019: 
    • #21 — Darius Bazley

#25, #28 Big Board:


  1. Precious Achiuwa
  2. Elijah Hughes
  3. Malachi Flynn
  4. Tyrese Maxey
  5. Grant Riller
  6. Immanuel Quickley
  7. Aleksej Pokusevski
  8. Daniel Oturu
  9. Tyrell Terry
  10. Killian Tillie
  11. Nico Mannion
  12. Zeke Nnaji
  13. Jahmi’us Ramsey
  14. Isaiah Stewart
  15. Isaiah Joe


  1. Aleksej Pokusevski
    1. Skilled 7-footer that plays like a wing who has a ton of scoring and playmaking upside due to smooth form and stellar passing chops, though there are concerns about his somewhat thin frame and lack of burst and the level of competition he played, though Giannis comes from the same league.
  1. Precious Achiuwa
    1. Achiuwa fits the mold as a fairly raw but supremely athletic big; has showcased legitimate ability to guard and muck things up 1-5 on the defensive end and has an awesome motor, but lacks feel and refinement on the offensive side where there are questions surrounding what he wants to be (is he a big or a big wing or both?).
  1. Jaden McDaniels
    1. Scoring-minded, but inconsistent 6-10 “wingy” forward type who has flashed the ability to score at all three levels and has showcased serious ability to impact plays on the defensive end with his long arms (7-0 wingspan), though he played in a zone at Washington; concerns lie within his skinny frame where he weighs in at just 184 lbs.
  1. Jalen Smith
    1. 6-10 combo big with a great motor who flashed the ability to hit 3s running off screens and off the catch as well as the ability to put the ball on the floor once or twice when attacking closeouts; excelled at defending the rim despite weak legs, but there are concerns about how well he can defend out on the perimeter.
  1. Immanuel Quickley
    1. 6-foot-3, 185lb. skilled, intelligent combo-guard who possesses a nice wingspan (6-8), and could be the best perimeter shooter in this draft class and has the tools and know-how to be solid on the defensive end as well but there are concerns about his passing ability and lack of strength.
  1. Robert Woodard II
    1. 6-7, 230 lb. combo-forward who hangs his hat on the defensive side of the ball and has the required athleticism and tools (7-2 wingspan) to potentially play the 4 and some 3 as well as the 5 in smaller lineups and flashed the ability to efficiently hit 3s off the catch, though there are concerns about his perimeter shooting due to low volume (only 70 3PAs) and poor free throw shooting (64.1%).
  1. Jahmi’us Ramsey
    1. Highly athletic and young (just turned 19 in June) 2-guard who has an NBA-ready body and put together an efficient and high-volume season hitting 3s whether it was off the catch or stepping into a deep bomb in transition and is infamous for taking pictures with his shirt off, though there are concerns about his decision-making on the defensive side.
  1. Josh Green
    1. Highly athletic wing with good size (6-6 with 6-10 wingspan) who has a pension for making life difficult for opposing players on the perimeter and flashed some ability to hit 3s off the catch but there are questions about his feel and skill on the offensive side of the ball.
  1. Theo Maledon
    1. French combo-guard who projects to be a plus-shooter and has great size (6-5 with 6-9 wingspan) and a solid overall feel for the game on the offensive side but there are questions about his athleticism and burst and how well that translates to the NBA.
  1. Tyrell Terry
    1. 6-3 crafty and intelligent but smaller guard who loves to shoot it and showed he can shoot it well from beyond the arc both off the catch and off the dribble and also has flashed some playmaking upside but there are concerns about his lack of strength and overall athleticism as well as ability to make a difference on the defensive side.
  1. Malachi Flynn
    1. 6-1 point-guard who was one of the best, if not the best, pick and roll ball-handler in all of college basketball and showed some serious ability to score at all three levels and also showed that he could be a factor defensively despite his lack of size but there are concerns about if his lack of size and elite athleticism will hold him back at the next level.
  1. Daniel Oturu
    1. 6-9 big with long arms (7-4 wingspan) who was a dominant force in the Big10 conference this year on the offensive side of the ball, showcasing great touch around the rim (best finisher around the rim amongst all High-Major players) and also flashed the ability to step out and hit the 3 off the catch but there are concerns about how well his game can translate to the NBA given his reliance on post-ups.
  1. Karim Mane
    1. Big combo-guard from Canada who’s best competition was AAU (and 7 games in FIBA U19 event) and measures in at 6-6 with a near 7-0 wingspan (6-11) who has good, but not great athleticism and has an excellent shooting form where he flashed the ability to pull up for 3s off the dribble and knock them down off the catch and the ability to finish around the rim in a variety of ways despite contact.
  1. Jay Scrubb
    1. Athletic left-handed wing who played in, and dominated, the JUCO ranks this past season with his shooting and slashing and has excellent tools and athleticism (6-6 with a 6-10 wingspan) that bode well for translating to the NBA.
  1. Elijah Hughes
    1. Athletic wing from Syracuse who has a lot of vertical pop and flashed the ability to make some high level passes as well as some high-level shots from downtown; made some eye-popping defensive plays at the rim this past season but there are concerns about his defensive IQ given that he played in a zone at ‘Cuse.

#53 Big Board


  1. Jay Scrubb
  2. Karim Mane
  3. Abdoulaye N’Doye
  4. Jordan Nwora
  5. Paul Eboua
  6. Borisa Simanic
  7. Paul Reed
  8. Josh Hall
  9. Saben Lee
  10. Mamadi Diakite


  1. Abdoulaye N’Doye
  2. Jalen Harris
  3. Tre Jones
  4. Jordan Nwora
  5. Mamadi Diakite
  6. Naji Marshall
  7. Isiaha Mike
  8. CJ Elleby
  9. Markus Howard
  10. Borisa Simanic

Possible targets if the Thunder trade up (in order of most probable):

  1. James Wiseman
    1. With Adams likely parting ways with the Thunder soon, Presti will want a more modern big and Wiseman could be that guy
  2. R.J. Hampton
    1. Super athletic guards with great size should appealing to the GM that once took Westbrook higher than most expected and Hampton fits that mold
  3. Aleksej Pokusevski
    1. Pokusevski is a high-upside guy that could fall far enough to where it could entice Presti to spend some of the Thunder’s assets to do so
  4. Cole Anthony
    1. With Schroder gone and Paul likely to part ways with the franchise soon, Presti could look to the guard who said his favorite team to watch is the Thunder; additionally, there is a concern that Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t the guy to run the offense
  5. LaMelo Ball
    1. It has been reported that the Thunder are one of the teams interested in possibly acquiring the #1 overall pick to select Ball and while it makes some sense, it is hard to see Presti spending the assets that will be asked of  to do so
  6. Jaden McDaniels
    1. McDaniels is a top target for the Thunder at 25, but if they think he won’t fall, they could decide to move up a handful of spots to ensure they can get their hands on the promising young forward
  7. Precious Achiuwa
    1. One of the NBA players that Achiuwa gets compared to sometimes is Jerami Grant, and while he does have similar athleticism to Grant, he’s significantly bigger and has great defensive instincts and Presti could fall in love enough to make a move

Other options that could improve the Thunder’s draft situation:

  • Chris Paul is likely to be traded, which could land in a possible draft position change. Rumored landing spots are Phoenix who owns the 10th pick, New York who owns picks 8, 27, and 38.
  • The Thunder have a plethora of future first round picks and some players that have positive value in trade, which could help them move towards the lottery.
  • There has been a lot of chatter about a Danilo Gallinari S&T going on so that may be a possibility, though unlikely, that the Thunder may acquire additional compensation in the form of a late 1st or early 2nd.
  • Sam Presti may fall in love with a prospect towards the top end of the draft, so it is also possible that he may decide to bundle a few picks/players and ship them off in an effort to acquire a higher pick in this year’s draft.
  • Another avenue that the Thunder could utilize to improve their standing in this year’s draft is in the form of taking on unwanted contracts and they have the pathways to do that as they also have 3 ‘traded player exceptions’ (or TPEs) worth $10.39M, $9.35M, and $1.62M, respectively.