2017 NBA Draft – A Unique Opportunity

By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | mailbag@okcthunder.com

Broadcast Information

  • Date/Time: Thursday June 22, 2017 - 6 p.m. CT
  • Television: ESPN
  • Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

A year ago, the Thunder began the 2016 NBA Draft with no first-round selections in its pocket. When the night was over, General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti emerged not just with a blockbuster trade that ended up netting the team Victor Oladipo and eventually Jerami Grant, but also the 11th overall pick in the draft, Domas Sabonis.

Over the years, Presti and his staff have made the best possible choices for the Thunder on draft night even if the circumstances, and the decisions, look drastically different each time. Impeccably prepared for every possible scenario, Presti and his team use the chaotic nature of the moving pieces on draft night to identify chances to maximize value for the organization.

In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Thunder has the 21st overall selection, which it cannot trade prior to making a selection. Once again, however, it will utilize that pick to best improve the ball club.

“We've always looked at the draft as an opportunity,” Presti said. “The 21st pick just represents opportunity to me. I think there will be a good player there, and if there's someone there that fits what we're looking for, we'll take him. Otherwise, we can move it.”

The Thunder has a variety of talented players with unique skillsets on the roster, and another asset, a $5 million trade exception, in hand in order to wheel and deal as it sees fit. Whether the Thunder selects someone at #21, trades up, trades back, trades out or trades into other selections, the team will likely focus on the types of players that have allowed the team to be successful in the past – long, fast, versatile athletes who can defend multiple positions and be effective on the offensive end.

One other note: the NBA’s roster sizes will increase to 17 in the 2017-18 season, with the use of two-way contracts for teams to keep players on both their NBA and G-League rosters. This is a tool to help teams retain and develop young players, so don’t be surprised if this alters how the draft shapes up for all 30 teams in the second round.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN on Thursday night, stay glued to the Thunder’s social media accounts and check back here at okcthunder.com at the end of the night for full coverage of Presti’s post-draft press conference.