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Thunder With A Decision To Make On Draft Night

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma City Thunder hold the 28th pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft, and no one outside the Thunder war room know who the Western Conference champions will be selecting.

Sure, plenty of people have ideas, and there are several needs the Thunder can address through the draft, but no one is expecting a lot since the Thunder just have the one pick at No. 28.

Much of the team's future direction depends on potential contract extensions for James Harden and Serge Ibaka. The team is technically able to re-sign both to long-term deals, but extensions will put the Thunder in the luxury tax penalty for the foreseeable future.

Whether or not that is a penalty OKC management is ready to deal with, remains to be seen.

Ultimately, the Thunder are looking for a backup-type player for Kevin Durant, a small forward who can defend on the perimeter and stretch the floor by being able to shoot the outside jumper.

However, should the Thunder not be able to re-sign Harden or Ibaka, they'll want to get a player in the draft who can replace them. In reality, we may catch a glimpse into general manager Sam Presti's thinking based on who the Thunder select Thursday night.

Here are some of the possibilities for the Thunder.

1. Jeff Taylor- 6'7, 215 pounds, Vanderbilt- Taylor is exactly what the Thunder are looking for. He's a big, physical player, and shot 42.3 percent from three last season. He isn't the best ball handler, but if he doesn't have to create his own offense, this is a great choice.

2. Draymond Green- 6'7, 235 pounds, Michigan State- Green is a puzzling case. He's a great talent, but not extremely athletic. He's a tweener as far as the NBA is concerned: too big to guard on the perimeter, but not big enough to bang with big guys down low. However, his attitude is ideal for the Thunder's organization, but attitude is not the best reason to pick a player.

3. Evan Fournier- 6'7, France- Fournier would be the Thunder's selection if they're looking to stash a player overseas for the future. He's just 19 and can shoot the three-pointer well. He definitely wouldn't be an immediate impact player.

4. Andrew Nicholson- 6'9, 235 pounds, St. Bonaventure- Nicholson burst onto the scene during the Bonnies' run through the A-10 tournament and the NCAA tournament. He's big and very athletic, and can shoot the ball extremely well. He never shot lower than 56 percent from the field and can drift out to the three-point line as well.

5. Quincy Miller- 6'10, Baylor- Miller declared for the NBA Draft after originally saying he would stay at school for his sophomore season. Miller is long and lanky, needs to gain some strength, and also needs to mature as a person and a player. However, OKC is in no need to have immediate impact. It'd be a bonus to have big contribution, but it's far from a necessity. Miller can shoot and he can move. If OKC grabs him, he'd have time to develop and based on the development of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the OKC coaching staff is darn good at that.

The Thunder's perfect player is one that seems to be unattainable, and that's Iowa State's Royce White. White is basically a thicker version of Kevin Durant. He is extremely athletic, and can handle the ball and make good decisions with the ball in his hands. He doesn't have extremely deep range, but that's something he can develop over time.

Some concerns are there with his anxiety issues, but in the proper environment, those concerns wouldn't be valid. OKC would certainly offer that type of environment, but White will probably be gone by the time No. 28 rolls around.

Of course, you always have to take the best available player no matter what your needs are, so it's possible the Thunder take none of these players listed above. One potential free-faller is Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, whose potential back issues have teams scurrying for cover. It's doubtful he would fall to OKC, but it'd be an early Christmas if he did.

Again, the Thunder has not tipped their hand in any way as to the direction they're leaning.

Knowing Presti and the way the organization is run, whatever move the Thunder make will have been thoroughly discussed and talked through, and will be the best for the team going forward.

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