In a lot of mock drafts, Blake Griffen is drafted by the Clippers and Hasheem Thabeet gets drafted by the Grizzlies. This situation makes the next two picks very easy, with Oklahoma City picking James Harden and Sacramento drafting Ricky Rubio.
But what if on June 25th, Memphis throws a curveball and drafts Rubio. Maybe to trade him, maybe to keep him. Where does this leave Oklahoma? Do they stick with James Harden? Or do they draft Hasheem Thabeet?
James Harden: The Thunder have been rumored to be interested in James Harden since before the athletic combine, where Harden proved he has above average size and athleticism for a wing player. Oklahoma was in the bottom 5 in FG% and 3PT% and bottom 10 in Points and Assists per game last season. James Harden is an efficient player and shooter, but also a great scorer and passer. Harden would obviously be a great fit to fix several problem areas for the Thunder.
Harden would also fit in well with the current "company culture". With Westbrook, Durant and Green they have drafted talented, young kids with great potential, but also unselfish players who hustle and play on hard on both ends of the floor. James Harden fits the bill to a tee. He would compliment Durant very well as the second option on an up-and-coming team.
Drafting Harden would mean that Jeff Green would slide down to the power forward position for good. Complicating the Thunders problem with size. Other teams would exploit this to no end.
Hasheem Thabeet: Many draft analysts predict that if Thabeet is on the board, the Thunder wouldn't pass on him. The Thunder have no defensive presence to indimidate smaller players away from the paint. Thabeet would be the answer as he is without a doubt the best shotblocker in the draft. Thabeet would be the Thunder's answer for Dwight Howard and Yao Ming, two players that not many teams can bother.
The Thunder were a solid defensive team last season and Thabeet would add another dimension to the outrageous defensive potential of the Thunder. With Westbrook, Durant and Green the Thunder have great size at every position and Thabeet would be the icing on their cake. The Thunder were a very good rebounding team last season and Thabeet would project to be their best rebounder next season.
Thabeet has solid offensive potential as well. The Thunder were a good free throw shooting team and Thabeet was surprisingly good (and improving rapidly) from the stripe. I've heard that he has shown some mid-range potential in workouts so far, and at 7'3" he could do some damage in the post someday (something that the Thunder lack).
The Thunder do not have a good record of developing talent in the post. The Thunder would also have to look to Livingston, Weaver and Sefolosha again for scoring, something none of them are known for. Thabeet wouldn't contribute much but rebounding and shotblocking this year.
Who would the Thunder take between Harden and Thabeet?
They need someone at both positions. It's easier to find a quality 2 guard than it is a quality true Center. I'd say they go with Thabeet and then get a 2 guard late in round 1....maybe somebody like Thornton.
if memphis passes on rubio, the thunder management would be stupid for not drafting him because westbrook is not a true point guard.
They would be stupid to draft Rubio because he fits no need. They need a inside presence like Hill. Westbrook is more defensively ready and athletically is better. If you want someone to upgrade then package to get Russel a backup.
draft rubio, have him run the point, and put westbrook at the 2.
As an OKC fan I say draft Harden instead of Thabeet and sign or trade a center in the Offseason...Kaman, Gortat, McGee
I think with the versatility of Durant and also they Livington who is slowly recovering from his injuries that they should not worry about Rubio who is probably not a better passer than Livington. It is possibly that if they have a chance to grab Rubio and make a trade with the Clippers for Griffin, they should do it. They have lots of young talent and draft picks and cap space. They could possible make a trade buy a late first rounder for a point guard and call it a day and they they would have two solid players that should get their fan excited that OKC can relate to in Durrant and Griffin.
i think if thabeet is there, they will draft him. i would personally rather them pick harden, since they've struck out on every center (swift, petro, sene) they've drafted recently.
If Thabeet is there, draft him, and hope for Ellington to drop to 25... which probably won't happen
I think they gotta go with a legit center to give them a starting 5 of Westbrook, Thabo, Durant, Green, and Thabeet. And yes Westbrook is a true point, 15 and 5 as a rookie playing point for the first time in a while is not bad at all.
Why doesn't OKC consider taking a chance on Hill? They can always grab a 2 guard with their second first. (Christmas, Thorton, etc.)
Just to clearify, I would then run a lineup of Westbrook, Durant, Green, Hill, Kristic. Just a possibility
Durant played better at the 3 then the 2. It's his natural position.. i mean come one now a basically 7 foot shooting guard.. it just wouldn't make sense. Green can play the 4.. I mean he averaged 17 point per game last season at the 4.. that's not bad for a guy who usually plays a 3. so it should be Westbrook, Thabo ( or someone they draft), Durant, Green, and Thabeet.
Thabeet is your man at #3.
harden is a proven shooter,we need that. okc should draft harden and leave thabeet to whoever else. he will be a project we dont need.
Seems like fans are split right down the middle.
I still have no idea who the Thunder would pick between the two.
I think both picks make sense, because both players will fill needs for OKC. Harden will probably have the more immediate impact of the two, and he is considered to be a less risky pick than Thabeet. If Thabeet is able to become the next Dikembe Mutombo, like some experts anticipate, then the Thunder would have made a great decision in taking him, but that is a huge "if". I would select Harden by a very slim margin, only because I don't think Thabeet will become the player Mutombo was, and Harden will be a more consistent and better player in the league.