Oklahoma City Thunder catch Draft Off-guard: Grades

Josh Giddey

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a treasure cove of picks and were said to be one of the most active teams in the 2021 NBA Draft. They weren’t able to make any significant moves to move into the top three but they did pull a surprise move with their top 10 pick.

Let’s dive into what Sam Presti and company did on draft night.

2021 NBA Draft: Oklahoma City Thunder Grades

Oklahoma City Thunder Swing for the Fences on Josh Giddey

Perhaps the best passer in the draft, Josh Giddey was surprisingly taken with the sixth pick, catching many off-guard. The 18-year-old Australian and NBL MVP heads to Oklahoma City with tremendous upside as the Thunder pair him with franchise star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The development of his shot will be important to monitor as it will determine his ceiling but if he gets that right, Oklahoma City could be staring at a monster pairing for the foreseeable future.

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Grade: A-

Oklahoma City Makes a Deal with Houston Rockets

This was an unusual trade by Oklahoma City who traded the number 16 pick to a conference rival. However, upon further inspection, Presti managed to create value by acquiring two future first-round picks.

These picks are heavily protected but obviously, Presti wasn’t comfortable with making a selection at those spots. This continues the acquisition of picks by the Thunder who used two on draft night but replenished them immediately.

I’d like this move more if the protections weren’t so heavy but Presti gets a solid grade for creating value out of nothing.

Grade: B

Tre Mann Brings Scoring Prowess to the Mid-West

The Thunder took a chance on Tre Mann, an excellent self-creator, shot-maker, and bona fide bucket getter. His shooting ability will be great for the Thunder who couldn’t hit the right side of a barn last season from three. Mann’s 40 percent from distance makes the pick a nice selection since it fills an area of need.

This pick did create a jam at the guard position with six point guards now on the roster. Additionally, Mann doesn’t play a lick of defense so it’s going to be interesting to see how they deploy him. He is a high-level talent with potential but now Oklahoma City needs to move a couple of players on the roster.

Grade: B-

Oklahoma City Thunder Select Swiss Army Knife Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

Perhaps one of the under-the-radar pick-ups of the draft, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl fits seamlessly into their system. He is the jack-of-all-trades who can slide in at the three or four and could potentially be the perfect glue guy down the line.

At pick 32, this is a nice selection for the Thunder who are clearly seeking versatility with the ability to contribute in multiple areas.

Grade: B+

The Thunder Take a Shot on Aaron Wiggins

Aaron Wiggins is a 6’5 athlete with a 6’10 wingspan and is the prototypical “Thunder player”. Where he fits in the Thunder system is unclear but he does show flashes of being a solid two-way player.

Wiggins showed flashes at Maryland as a scorer but his shot needs a bit of work to aid his consistency. Nonetheless, it is rare for late second-round picks to make it in the league so he will need to put in some work to earn playing time.

Grade: B-

Final Thoughts

I like this haul for the Thunder who has gone with their gut to select Giddey in the top 10. All draft picks fit a need and the direction the team is heading in is obvious – gather as many versatile players as possible. Oklahoma City is clearly playing the long game, taking their time as they rebuild their roster. General Manager Sam Presti hit on his last three top 10 selections so it will be interesting to see if they can do it again.

On this night though, the Thunder had a solid but not spectacular night as most anticipated. They weren’t able to move up the draft but they made some steady selections including their prized possession Josh Giddey.

Grades: B

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