The Oklahoma City Thunder are currently projected to have the #4 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Things could change thanks to the infamous mixed-reviewed Draft Lottery.
The Thunder can address a few areas of need in this draft owning three-first round draft picks so let's start with their first selection which can be as high as #1 or as low as #14. Oklahoma City needs a point guard, center, or a power forward to really balance out their young nucleus of Westbrook-Durant-Green.
I believe the Thunder will focus on a point guard and here's why:
By selecting a point guard in the draft, it will allow Russell Westbrook to move to his more natural position at shooting guard and inject a ball-handle with a floor leader mentality and in certain cases more team-oriented agendas than Westbrook has displayed in his first season with the Thunder. At the very least, the experiment of plugging in Westbrook at point in his rookie year provided Russell with some experience running the team and should the new draftee falter, Westbrook can revert back to his old position and help out in that area.
With that being said here are a few prospects for the Thunder to keep an eye on:
Curry has excellent mechanics as a shooter and displayed his versatility by playing the role of point guard at Davidson in his junior year. If the Thunder decided to select Curry it would really shore up their backcourt with great perimeter defense and dual scoring options in the backcourt at the 1's and 2's.
The Thunder would also have two of the best shooters in the league in Durant and Curry and would provide the Thunder with more scoring which has been a problem for them. Judging by their season numbers its safe to say they would really value the services that Curry brings.
Even with one of the best shooters in the league last season, they were 25th in offensive field-goal percentage and only averaged 97 points ranking 29th in the league and they were outscored by more than six points during the regular season. Curry is very long and possesses excellent go-to moves when in need of a basket.
He can penetrate through defenses and find the open man; in the pro's his assist numbers will be much greater than they were in college due to a superior supporting cast. However Curry isn't athletic and drafting him as high as four maybe overdoing it.
In his defense, Westbrook would balance out their athleticism and substitute for Curry's lack of and Curry makes up for Westbrook's lack of outside shooting in the backcourt.
At 6-2 Jennings is long and a wonderful playmaker in the open court. He's immensely athletic and dominated all of the major High School tournaments including the Jordan Brand Classic when he was still in High School back in the States.
He's a terrific slasher and excels at knifing through defenses and can distribute the ball to anyone at anytime. The only concerns on the former Oak Hill Academy protege is his lack of strength, questions about his jump-shot, and at times his decision-making can be a bit erratic.
He still needs to learn how to play to his team's strengths instead of showcasing his own and how to effectively set the tempo when initiating a half-court offense. Jennings has reportedly been humbled by his experience in your Europe, thanks to tough competition, tough coaching, and an array of lackluster performances.
With draft workouts approaching, Jennings is continuing to revamp his game in hopes of impressing scouts that are interested in viewing his development since his voyage overseas. Jennings is the most athletic point guard in the class and arguably has the the most potential as well.
He'll be competing with Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio for the top point guard in the 09' Draft Class.
Lawson is the most unselfish candidate of the three and is also the fastest player in the draft from one end of the basketball court to another. He's currently riding a hot streak that was flamed by the Tar Heels victory in the NCAA Championship.
Lawson was the undisputed most important player of the NCAA Tournament. His performances during UNC's run; 21 second-half points against LSU on a bad ankle, a near triple-double in the Final Four, and his 5-to-1 turnover ratio in the Big Dance was miraculous.
The Thunder are in dire need of a distributor as they finished second to last in their division in assists and almost dealt their best passer (Earl Watson) at the trade deadline. With scorers like Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant all still developing as scorers, a crafty player with amazing speed and who actually prefers to dish the ball maybe the right prescription for the Thunder.
Though the fourth overall pick seems like a tad high, Lawson could vindicate the Thunder's decision by having a good series of workouts similar to what Russell Westbrook did in last year's draft. Or if he has a bad series of workouts with NBA teams has he did last offseason, Oklahoma City can easily trade down and acquire more pieces toward their future and still nab Lawson.
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