Thunder

Presti’s Pick Plethora Never Stops

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have 34 draft picks through 2027.

Yes. You read that right.

34 draft picks over the next seven years. 17 first-rounders. 17 second-rounders.

This is following a three-team trade on the day of the trade deadline that moved George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis to the Philadelphia 76ers, Tony Bradley, Austin Rivers, Philly’s 2025 and 2026 second-round picks to OKC, and Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, and Philly’s 2021 second-round pick to the New York Knicks.

After collecting picks and assets over the past two years like they’re infinity stones, reality can be whatever Sam Presti wants. OKC has enough draft capital to create two entire NBA rosters over the next seven years. They have four expiring contracts in Darius Miller, Justin Jackson, Mike Muscala and Svi Mykhailiuk. The George Hill trade creates a $9.6 million trade exception and initially left the roster with one too many players. The Thunder waived Meyers Leonard as a result and are also waiving newly acquired Austin Rivers.

Draft Capital

Even with the addition of two more second-round picks, it doesn’t change much in the grand scheme of things. The Thunder had the most polarizing draft capital prior to the trade deadline and only bolstered that perception by adding two more picks. Still, much will be made about what OKC can do with their excessive draft stock.

Here is a full breakdown of what OKC can look forward to over the next seven seasons.

2021

Top-two picks among:

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
  • MIA 1st Round Pick (unprotected)
  • HOU 1st Round Pick (top-four protected)
    • If pick falls in the 1-4 range, pick does not convey.

The rest:

  • GSW 1st Round Pick (top-20 protected)
    • If pick falls within 1-20 range, OKC will receive Minnesota’s 2nd Round Pick.
  • DEN 2nd Round Pick

2022

  • LAC 1st Round Pick (unprotected)
  • PHX 1st Round Pick (top-12 protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-12 range, transfers to 2023 and becomes top-10 protected. Should pick fall in the 1-10 range in 2023, pick transfers to 2024 and becomes top-eight protected. If pick falls in 1-8 range in 2024, pick transfers to 2025 and becomes unprotected.
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick

2023

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
    • OKC has right to swap with Clippers
  • DEN 1st Round Pick (top-14 protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-14 range, transfers to 2024 where it remains top-14 protected. Same scenario for 2025. If OKC has still not received Nuggets’ 1st round pick in 2025, OKC will instead receive Nuggets’ 2025 and 2026 2nd round picks.
  • MIA 1st Round Pick (top-14 protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-14 range, transfers to 2024 where pick remains top-14 protected. Should pick fall in 1-14 range in 2024, pick transfers to 2025 and remains top-14 protected. If pick falls in 1-14 range in 2025, pick transfers to 2026 and becomes unprotected.
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick
  • DAL/MIA 2nd Round Pick
    • Whichever pick is more valuable.
  • WSH 2nd Round Pick

2024

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
  • HOU 1st Round Pick (top-four protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-4 range, OKC will instead receive Houston’s 2024 and 2025 2nd round picks.
  • LAC 1st Round Pick (unprotected)
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick
  • CHA 2nd Round Pick
  • MIN 2nd Round Pick

2025

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
    • OKC has right to swap 1st round pick with HOU (top-10 protected) or LAC 1st round pick (unprotected).
  • PHI 1st Round Pick (top-six protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-6 range, transfers to 2026 and is top-four protected. Should pick fall in 1-4 range in 2026, pick transfers to 2027 and is top-four protected. If pick falls in 1-4 range in 2027, OKC will instead receive 76ers’ 2027 2nd round pick.
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick
  • ATL 2nd Round Pick (31-55 protected)
  • PHI 2nd Round Pick

2026

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
  • HOU 1st Round Pick (top-four protected)
    • If pick falls in 1-4 range, OKC will instead receive Rockets’ 2026 2nd round pick.
  • LAC 1st Round Pick (unprotected)
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick
  • DAL 2nd Round Pick
  • PHI 2nd Round Pick

2027:

  • OKC 1st Round Pick
  • OKC 2nd Round Pick
  • HOU 2nd Round Pick
  • IND 2nd Round Pick
  • MIA 2nd Round Pick

There are endless scenarios in which these picks can be used. Oklahoma City could keep all of them and draft accordingly, or try to package picks for a star or complimentary players in the future. What Presti does with the picks remains to be seen.

Common sense would leave one to believe there will likely be a combination of drafting and trading.

Some potential prospects OKC can target over the next couple of years include:

  • Chet Holmgren, a 7-footer with guard skills that tops the 2021 High School recruiting class.
  • Emoni Bates, a 6’8″ small forward that tops the 2022 high-school recruiting class and is often compared to Kevin Durant.
  • Bronny James, LeBron James‘ oldest son, a highly touted prospect in the 2023 recruiting class.

And with the absurd amount of picks OKC has accrued, they can trade for nearly every star in the league outside of a Giannis Antetokounmpo or Luka Doncic.

The future is wide open.

Al Horford

Al Horford was not dealt on Thursday’s trade deadline, which was a bit of a surprise. Horford’s name circulated around teams like the Celtics and Raptors, but his $27.5 million salary unsurprisingly proved difficult to negotiate around. Horford will likely be a sought-after product this offseason, especially now given the two parties have mutually agreed to sit him out for the remainder of this season.

It’s unsurprising that the Thunder’s intentions moving forward is to develop the young core of the team. With the addition of Tony Bradley, it’s likely they want to get the young center minutes. The two years and $53 million left on Horford’s contract means he is unlikely for a buyout, so expect him to re-enter the trade market once the 2021 offseason commences. What will be interesting to monitor moving forward is whether or not the lack of court time increases or decreases his trade value.

Other Potential Outgoing Players

Austin Rivers is never going to touch the court in Chesapeake Energy Arena wearing a Thunder uniform. He was a popular name for the buyout market that could potentially help a playoff contender. It wasn’t long after the deadline that the Thunder announced Rivers was to be waived.

Of the four players eligible to be re-signed this offseason, the only one that seems likely to not receive an offer is Darius Miller.

Since he has arrived in Oklahoma City, Svi Mykhailiuk has been a strong role player for the Thunder. Mike Muscala is a candidate for a sign-and-trade when the season ends, but Moose is also a fan favorite and no one would be upset if he returned for another season in a Thunder uniform.

https://twitter.com/ThunderChats/status/1375239762982936578?s=20

Justin Jackson hasn’t been the most consistent option for the Thunder, but there have been moments this season where the UNC product shined. Jackson is also a player who can help convince Tony Bradley to stay with the Thunder after this season concludes.

Tony Bradley

Bradley arrives in OKC in his fourth season in the league. He and Jackson were both members of the North Carolina Tar Heels’ 2016-17 National Championship squad and were both 1st-round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Bradley struggled to find court time in his first two seasons with the Utah Jazz behind a stacked frontcourt headlined by Rudy Gobert.

In his third season with Utah, Bradley finally saw court time averaging a little over 11 minutes per game in 58 appearances. After getting traded to the 76ers in the 2020 offseason, Bradley has taken a step forward in his 2021 season.

With injuries to Joel Embiid, Bradley received eight starts for Philadelphia prior to getting traded to Oklahoma City. In those eight starts Bradley is averaging 7.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Those numbers may not sound super impressive at face value, but in those eight starts Bradley surpassed the 20-minute mark only four times.

While a small sample size, in the four games he breached 20 minutes, Bradley averaged 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. This is not only encouraging, but they support his per-36 numbers of 13.7 points and 13 rebounds per contest.

And in his final start with the 76ers, Bradley put up 18 points and 11 boards in 32 minutes.

Bradley was a stout defender coming into the league, and after a couple of years learning under Gobert and Embiid, it’s very likely he is capable of maintaining his career average of 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes if he sees significant court time.

The only other question mark regarding Bradley’s future with the team is his contract expires at the end of the season. If he performs well in the second half of the season for OKC, it’s very likely we could see him in a Thunder jersey for years to come.

Net Gain

If Oklahoma City were to receive a grade for the trade deadline, it would be about a B+. They didn’t manage to get rid of Horford, but dealt George Hill and got a very intriguing prospect in Bradley while adding to their stockpile of draft picks.

Sam Presti is good at his job.

Follow us on Twitter @ThunderLead for the latest Thunder news and insight. 

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About Adrian Walker

Graduate from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Been covering sports since I was 14 years old. I have an Emmy nomination to my name and have helped produce two documentaries. I Co-Host a podcast called the Flight School Podcast which can be found on Spotify and iTunes. My mind is basically a storage base for every known fact about Russell Westbrook.

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