The 2010 NBA Draft is less than two months away and with it approaching there are several teams that have either been eliminated from the postseason or didn’t qualify for it who have shifted their attention to who they will select on June 24, 2010. One team that made the playoffs and unfortunately lost during the opening round is the young and exciting Oklahoma City Thunder. Improving 27 games in the win column, having two of the league’s biggest and brightest future stars (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) and giving the Los Angeles Lakers everything they could handle have many people looking at this team to make a huge jump again during the 2010-11 season.
The Thunder already have plenty in place for the future as their roster’s key nine players are all 29 years or younger in age and their top four are all 23 or younger. During the past few drafts Thunder General Manager Sam Presti and his staff has done a terrific job selecting the Durantula (2nd overall in 2007), obtaining Jeff Green (5th overall in 2007 via draft day trade for Ray Allen), Westbrook (4th overall in 2008) and James Harden (3rd overall in 2009). Now it is time for Presti to make another huge splash with his decision making.
The Thunder currently own the 21st overall pick as well as the 26th overall selection in the first round for this year’s draft. They also have the 32nd overall pick and the 51st overall selection in the second round. With four total draft picks Oklahoma City could really do some major damage adding even more young and talented players to the equation which is already proving to be a successful one.
If I was Presti or even his assistant and worked in the Thunder’s front office, I would attempt to package either two or three of those picks in order to move up in the top three of four spots in the draft and select DeMarcus Cousins from Kentucky to solidify their lineup. The one piece OKC was missing in their series versus the Lakers was a dominant big man in the middle, I am not saying Cousins is one already but he can learn to be one on a team that is learning and improving day-by-day. He is a very mobile big who can score and defend equally well and if added into the mix with the Durantula and crew the Western Conference is in deep trouble for the next ten years.
If the Thunder decide to go in a different direction then there are a couple of players who may be around in the later part of the first round including Patrick Patterson (Kentucky), Greavis Vazquez (Maryland), Jon Scheyer (Duke) and Gordon Hayward (Butler) who would fit in nicely in Oklahoma City. Those players are al guys who should be able to contribute to an up and coming team that is on the verge of a dynasty but Cousins would put them in unchartered waters as a legit Conference Championship contender.