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Thunder Draft Preview: The Choice May Come Down To Harden and Thabeet

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 14:  Guard James Harden #13 of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on after losing to the USC Trojans in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game at the Staples Center on March 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jason ColdironCorrespondent IJune 24, 2009

The Thunder seem to have narrowed down their choice with the number three pick to Ricky Rubio, Hasheem Thabeet and James Harden.


ESPN is reporting that General Manager Sam Presti met with all three players on Sunday in Los Angeles.


Thabeet would give them a defensive post presence, kind of a “goalie” type to go with Russel Westbrook's outstanding perimeter defense. The Thunder are loaded offensively, so Thabeet's offensive shortcomings wouldn't necessarily kill the team.


Harden would give the team another outstanding scorer in the back- court. He could be a very solid complement to Kevin Durant. Harden is also seen by many as an “NBA ready” type of player who could step right in and contribute to the rising Thunder.


The wildcard in all this remains Rubio.


Having spent the last four seasons playing professionally in Spain, it has been hard to evaluate him.


Some compare him to Pete Maravich or Steve Nash, while others believe he could be a complete bust.


Whether or not the Thunder would consider Rubio may become a moot point by the time they pick at number three.


The Grizzlies hold the number two pick, but it is believed that at least two teams (the Timberwolves and Knicks) may be trying to trade up to that pick to take Rubio.


In this scenario, the Thunder would have to choose between the post defender and the smooth wing man.


Conventional wisdom in the NBA holds that when in doubt you should err on the side of a big man.


On the other hand, a couple of years ago the Blazers followed that philosophy and took Greg Oden over Durant, a move that now looks like a huge mistake.


If I were the Thunder, I would go with Harden, but I am not a GM and so we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.


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