With the NBA combine in the rear-view mirror, ESPN draft guru Jonathan Givony has put together a new mock draft. In this latest update, the Oklahoma City Thunder get a player who many analysts have projected to be a top-five pick all season long: Jonathan Kuminga.
Givony now projects Florida State forward Scottie Barnes, who has often been linked to the Thunder, to go No. 5 to the Orlando Magic.
That leaves G League Ignite forward Kuminga available for the Oklahoma City.
“The Thunder would likely be thrilled to see Kuminga — considered a real No. 1 pick candidate by some league observers earlier in the year — at this stage of the draft. Sitting on the biggest war chest of draft picks the NBA has ever seen, the Thunder will likely have little hesitation to take a home run swing on a high-ceiling/lower-floor prospect like Kuminga as they desperately need some of those picks to pan out and become stars.”
Kuminga has fallen because he looks more raw than many anticipated when he declared for the G League team. He has elite potential on both ends of the court, but he struggled to shoot, hitting only 24.6% of his shots from 3 and a mere 37.8% of his looks overall, an awful number for a player who is so talented at scoring at the rim.
He averaged 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocks in the G League bubble.
While it didn’t do anything to move his stock up, doing this as an athlete one year out of high school competing against adults is nothing to scoff at.
“Putting him in the right culture and giving him the type of usage he needs to expand his game could give Kuminga a chance to be a difference-maker long term.”
The Thunder have a proven culture and have shown the ability to develop players. Last year alone, guys like Aleksej Pokusevski and Moses Brown went from fringe NBA roster fodder to productive players.
Kuminga shows more promise prior to the draft than either of the aforementioned players. The Thunder would be happy with this take.
At No. 16, Oklahoma City selected Alperen Sengun, a Turkish center who absolutely dominated the Turkish Super League.
“Analytics models love Sengun, one of the most prolific and efficient teenagers in European basketball history. Some teams think Sengun’s productivity suggests he should be a candidate for the top five as opposed to the late-lottery or teens range where he’s normally ranked.”
Sengun already has a bag of tricks in the post and is a good passer, able to handle the ball in transition or kick it out of the paint. He averaged more than 19 points on nearly 65% shooting and added 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in about 28 minutes per game.
What limits his draft stock is his defense. It’s bad. He gets blown by on the perimeter and stands somewhere in the 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-10 range. He’s a good shot blocker in the post, but good offenses would be able to play him off the court until he improves away from the basket.
But with apparent offensive proclivity, he would be a steal at No. 16.
With the 18th pick, the Thunder picked Moses Moody, a prototypical 3-and-D player. With a height of 6-foot-6 and wingspan just over 7-feet, many project him to be a lottery pick.
Moody averaged 16.8 points for Arkansas and made 35.8% of his 3s on 5.1 attempts per game.
“He’s one of the youngest players in the draft and is coming off a productive freshman season in the SEC.”
He looks like a guy whose baseline talent of playing versatile defense and hitting shots would make him a rotation player for any team in the league.
If those are the three picks for the Thunder, it could be an absolute win of a draft.