2013 NBA Draft Blog
The NBA Draft is an opportunity for every team in the league to infuse new blood into their roster and layer their team with talent. The Thunder started the 2013 Draft with the #12, #29 and #32 selections and ended up making their first and third picks, in addition to trading up from #29 to select at #26 and acquiring the rights to the #40 selection. When the night was finished, the Thunder had acquired Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines and Grant Jerrett. Below is a breakdown of how the night progressed for the Thunder, including reaction from General Manager Sam Presti and Assistant General Manager Troy Weaver:
With the number 12 selection, the Thunder selected Steven Adams, a 7-foot, 250-pound center from the University of Pittsburgh. Adams was one of the ten players invited to be in the green room at the Draft, which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
"I'm going to be a Thunder player," Adams said to media in attendance at the Draft. "I learned a lot about the history of what it means to put on the jersey. So that's just one thing. It's such a huge honor to be a Thunder player in itself."
A five-star recruit coming out of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., Adams spent one season as a Panther, where he averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 23.4 minutes while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor. He started in all 32 games and made the Big East All-Rookie team.
Adams is a native of Rotorua, New Zealand, the youngest of 18 children in his family and the first player from New Zealand ever drafted in the first round. The 19-year old big man will focus on continuing to hone his skills and utilizing the Thunder's player development program in order to incrementally improve on a daily basis.
"All I'm trying to work on right now is rebounding, blocking shots, defense and running the lanes," Adams said. "All the base sort of stuff. I'll start from there I'll try to branch off. Whatever the coaches want."
"All the coaches in there were real good people and they knew a lot about basketball," Adams continued. "All they cared about was just getting better, progressing and reaching towards the championship... Their program is really, really good."
Presti and Weaver were thrilled to bring in Adams with the team's lottery pick, a rarity for an organization that just won 60 games and had the best record in the Western Conference. With Adams, the Thunder is getting a powerful, skilled big man with all of the physical attributes the team believes are important. Through hard work and the help of the coaching staff, the Thunder front office feels Adams could become a valuable asset to the club.
"He's a tremendous young man," Weaver said. "He has great size, a natural physicality for a young player and we're really excited about him. He has a great pair of hands and he's a really good athlete... We think he has tremendous upside."
"When you go back and really study the film based on different points in the season, you can see a clear progression with his game," Presti said. "It's very, very hard to find guys who can protect the basket and that are physical. This is a young player, but he's a physical player. I think he understands that he has a long way to go, but he has some attributes that are incredibly hard to find."
Originally slated to select at the number 29 spot in the first round, the Thunder traded up with the Golden State Warriors to the number 26 spot in order to select Andre Roberson, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward out of the University of Colorado.
Roberson, who was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico and played his high school ball in San Antonio, spent three seasons with the Buffaloes, averaging 9.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor.
In addition to finishing second in the nation in rebounds per game in 2012-13, Roberson was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
"He has a great nose for the ball and tremendous instincts," Weaver said. "He can defend multiple positions. We feel that his skill set can continue to enhance the wing group that we have. He's one of those players that brings energy to the floor."
"We think he's a unique player," Presti said. "We feel like he has a lot of tools to work with physically and the other thing that we really like about him is that he has tremendous endurance and persistence on the floor, and activity."
With the 32nd overall selection, the Thunder picked Spanish Alex Abrines, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound guard who currently plays for F.C. Barcelona. The 19-year old is originally from Palma de Mallorca, Spain and has been playing professionally since the 2010-11 season.
During the 2012-13 season, Abrines played 27 games for Espacio Torrelodones, scoring 3.4 points in 11.0 minutes per game and played 13 games for F.C. Barcelona, scoring 5.2 points in 11.1 minutes per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the floor. While Presti said that Abrines will likely not come over to the United States next season, the Thunder is excited to invest in a player who seems to have a bright future ahead of him.
"One of the best, most talented young players in Europe," Weaver said. "He's just a gifted basketball player. He can do a lot of different things and can really shoot the ball. He has a natural feel for the game at a young age. We're excited about him as a prospect."
"He plays for one of the most accomplished and prestigious clubs in Europe, in Barcelona," Presti said. "He's earned his way onto the floor there in some pretty pivotal games at a very young age."
During the post-draft press conference, Presti announced that the Thunder acquired Grant Jerrett, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward out of the University of Arizona. Jerrett was originally selected with the number 40 overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Chino Hills, Calif. native played in 34 games as a member of the Wildcats in his freshman season, scoring 5.2 points and grabbing 3.6 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game. During his senior year of high school, he was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of California.
"We're really intrigued," Weaver said. "He really piqued our interest during the process. The guy can really shoot the ball. He shot 40 percent from three as a big in college, which rarely happens for a 6-foot-10 kid. We like his tools and his skill set. We believe he's a player that can continue to grow with the program."
"He has tremendous shooting ability for a big guy," Weaver continued. "He's a guy we feel can grow with our program. He has some tremendous tools, length and shooting ability. He has a knack for the ball. He comes up with balls and can block a shot. He's not scared to mix it up inside."