NBA Draft 2011: 5 Players the Oklahoma City Thunder Should Be Looking at
Watching the team throughout the playoffs, it appears they will need some depth down low at power forward and center, especially since some of the big men they now have are aging. There is also a minor need for a shooting guard/small forward hybrid—basically any position where Durant and Westbrook don't play.
Although it is tough to find a truly great player in the position OKC will be drafting, a team can generally find some very solid contributors.
Here are five draft possibilities for this rising team in the Western Conference.
Weight: 237 lbs.
Strengths: Singler can find a variety of shots with his height and doesn't need much room to put up a shot. He's very smart and moves well without ball, plus he can play inside and outside, which makes him a dual threat.
Weaknesses: He's not quick or explosive enough for the NBA level. Possibly a tweener, Singler is not quick enough to defend at the three and may not be strong enough to play down at the four. Rebounding can also be a problem for him when it gets physical down low.
Overall, I think Singler could learn a lot about being a solid small forward from Kevin Durant. He would probably get some considerable minutes in a bench role next season.
Weight: 228 lbs.
Strengths: The finesse big man can present matchup problems for some big men with his abilities to shoot a perimeter shot and score inside. Leuer has three-point range, shooting 39 percent in the NCAA. He's also a decent passer and has fairly good court vision.
Weaknesses: Being a finesse player can also be a weakness for Leuer, as he might not have the size or physicality to compete at the NBA level. He also has trouble in the rebounding department, pulling down under six per game in college, which is a big concern for a big man at the NCAA level.
Leuer could be a defensive liability in the NBA, but he could put in some solid minutes with his ability to score in the post and from the perimeter.
School: Florida State
Weight: 225 lbs.
Strengths: An explosive player, Singleton shows extreme athleticism in fast break and open lane situations. He plays big for his position and has the tools to become a solid lock-down defender. Singleton is a blue collar player who always gives a lot of effort on the defensive end with his abilities to guard multiple positions and shot-block.
Weaknesses: Singleton is not a very good ball-handler, especially for his position. He's also not a great scorer and can be awkward at times with his footwork and shot release.
Singleton could be a solid defensive backup for Kevin Durant, but he will never be a great scorer.
School: Morehead State
Weight: 225 lbs.
Strengths: Faried is a big man who is not afraid to do the dirty work. He brings a ton of energy to the court night in and night out, with explosive leaping ability that allows him to get rebounds, make huge dunks and block shots. Faried led the nation in rebounds last season; even though his offensive game has considerably improved, he would rather just focus on rebounding and defense.
Weaknesses: Faried is undersized to compete at the NBA level at his position. He also has a big transition after playing in the Ohio Valley Conference, and he needs to develop his offensive game to become a legitimate big man.
This is a very exciting player who the Oklahoma City faithful would love to watch do the dirty work. However, Faried's lack of offensive game against real opponents is alarming.
Weight: 221 lbs.
Strengths: Johnson is an athletic forward who is electric in the open floor and a defensive force who can lock down players with his long wingspan. He runs the floor well and is attempting to put on weight.
Weaknesses: He is the definition of a "tweener" with no perimeter game, and he may not be big enough to battle down low.
Johnson could be a high risk, high reward player with his awkward size. He could be a very good addition off the bench though.