The NBA announced today three key dates that will determine the fate of the Oklahoma City Thunder organization for years to come. The NBA announced when the NBA Draft, NBA Draft Lottery, and NBA Draft Combine will take place.
The NBA Draft is slated for July 29th, a week after the NBA postseason. Draft night represents hope, and also represents basically the re-opening of the trade window. A ton of deals get done on or around NBA Draft night that impacts the future of franchises. The Thunder, not only have Al Horford who they have pledged to move this offseason, but historic draft assets to possibly move up in the NBA Draft depending on how NBA Lottery Night falls.
The NBA Draft Lottery Night is the night for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Check out now, if you want to, because nothing that happens on the floor will truly impact that future of the OKC Thunder the way that NBA Draft Lottery night will. Within the span of an hour of Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy commissioner opening 14 envelopes, the Thunder could either enter the infancy stages of an NBA Dynasty or be hitting the red panic button and diving into their doomsday bunker.
On NBA Draft Lottery Night, the Thunder could walk away with the first overall pick, and the fifth overall pick (via Houston)…the organization could also come out of the draft night with their pick at eight, and Miami’s pick outside the Lottery. Safe to say, that has two totally different feelings, and one signals a doomsday, while the other causes celebration in the streets for the Thunder’s next dynasty.
While the player OKC Drafts at eight, hypothetically, will not be bad, they just will not be the franchise-altering superstar that this organization needs to pair with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. There are two schools of thought to combat this line of doomsday thinking, however.
Number one, well the Thunder have so many draft assets that they will just trade up in the draft! Well, the grand prize of Cade Cunningham, I do think will be able to be hand via a trade. Maybe you can trade for a Jalen Green, Kuminga, Suggs, level player. Which would still be great! But, also be a possible long shot. The bottom line is, you would hope your fate is not in other GMs agreeing to a deal hands. Oh, and Luka Doncic was tradable! There is still time for bad owners and GMs to try to reinvent the wheel.
Number two is, well Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was picked 11th! Or insert your Giannis, Jokic, etc comment here. While that is true, it has taken Shai Gilgeous-Alexander until year three to become that bonafide All-Star level player and have some buzz around him possibly being a number one option. This is just the start of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s ascension, and we saw him struggle in the playoffs a year ago, an area he will still have to grow in during his next few postseason appearances. SGA’s development has been extremely fast, streamlined, and impressive. Not everyone can develop at that pace, and if you are waiting three or four years for Keon Johnson, for example, to become a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander level player, SGA is not standing still. He is not only getting older but deeper into his club control.
Whereas a player like Luka, was an elite player from the word go, and if he got to play alongside a player the caliber of current day Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in his first year, the Mavs would’ve hopped on a Rocketship to the postseason. Luka Doncic, Cade Cunningham, guys in that company represent ready-made stars even more than they do potential, while they still have plenty of that.
If OKC, on June 22nd at 7:30, does not come away with a top-5 pick, this season will feel like it was all for not. OKC will be in the exact same position they were entering this season and have to redo all of this again. All over the way a few ping pong balls bounce.
Dates: NBA Draft: July 29th. NBA Draft Lottery: June 22nd. NBA Draft Combine: June 21-27th.