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Thunder Draft Prospects: 18-17

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The NBA Draft is less than two weeks away and the Thunder own the No. 14 pick thanks to an injury-riddled nightmare of a season. For the next 10 days, we'll be counting down the top 18 prospects that the Thunder should target. We'll analyze two players a day until Draft night on June 25.

It is important to note that only realistic players will be included in this list. Therefore, you won't be reading about Jahlil Okafor or Justise Winslow or Kristaps Porzingis because there's no way those guys slip down to 14.

Now that you know the rules, let's get started.

18. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – SF – Arizona

Strengths

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he's a prototypical small forward. Despite his offensive struggles, he should enter the NBA as an already above-average defender who can guard multiple positions.

Weaknesses

To this point in his career, RHJ has pretty much found a way to will the ball into the basket with athleticism and length. But at the NBA level, you have to have something in your offensive repertoire, and he simply doesn't. He can't stretch the floor (21 percent on 3s last season) and struggles to find easy shots. The good news is that he's only 20 years old, so there's time to potentially develop some offense.

NBA player comparison

Andre Roberson

How he'd fit the Thunder

Of the Thunder's top 18 realistic draft prospects, Hollis-Jefferson comes in last. That's not to say he can't be a good player, but there's a lot of work to do. He's a great athlete but there's too much work to be done for him to make an impact in the immediate future. RHJ also doesn't fit any projected position of need. OKC already has an athletic wing defender who struggles to score in Andre Roberson, another is overkill. However, if the Thunder ends up trading down, he wouldn't be a bad prospect in the late 20s.

 

17. Rashad Vaughn – SG – UNLV

Strengths

Vaughn's unique talent level makes him a tempting pick, despite some of the negatives we'll discuss in a moment. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 18 points on 45 percent shooting as a freshman for the Rebels last season and shot an impressive 38 percent from downtown. He can really fill it up and comes with ideal NBA size for the two spot.

Weaknesses

A lot of folks have criticized UNLV coach Dave Rice for his performance over the past few seasons. Critics say that the Rebs look unorganized and lack discipline. Example A might just be Rashad Vaughn. Watching Vaughn, the talent is clear, but it looks like he's never been coached. The ball often sticks as he isolates, he takes a lot of bad shots and his effort level seems inconsistent.

NBA player comparison

O.J. Mayo, Quincy Pondexter

How he'd fit the Thunder

Vaughn seems like the kind of guy that Sam Presti tends to shy away from. The talent is there, but what about the mental aspect? Oklahoma City doesn't want another Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones situation. However, if NBA coaches can get the most out of him, Vaughn could end up being one of the steals of the draft. Like Hollis-Jefferson, the only way the Thunder should think about him is if they move back into the 20s. Vaughn might be worth a shot at 25 or so.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for players 16-15.

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