NBA Draft: Where Will OU's Buddy Hield & Isaiah Cousins Land?


Wednesday, June 22nd 2016, 3:44 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger


The Thunder may not have a pick in Thursday’s 2016 NBA Draft, but there are a couple local guys looking to hear their name called when the commissioner takes the stage inside the Barclays Center at 6:30 p.m.

OU’s Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are both projected to get drafted, but to which team is the real question at hand. Both players have been forecasted to land in the lap of a variety of teams, so here’s an idea of what could happen.

Buddy Hield

Everyone around the NBA knows the type of shooter Hield is after his astounding senior season as a Sooner, but there are a few questions that surround him as scouts project his game to the next level. While his stroke is never in question, both his ball handling and defense has been suspect at times, and Hield appeared to have trouble later on in Big 12 play when teams learned how to better defend him and throw a multitude of defenders at him at every turn.

Like most lethal scorers, Hield should be able to fix those weaknesses that have attracted criticism, and improvement is more likely than not seeing his work ethic is highly touted. Hield was known to put up shots in the gym at all times of the day at Oklahoma, so much so that he was criticized for not resting later in the season when his production slightly dipped and some blamed tired legs.

If Hield’s senior season wasn’t enough to impress NBA scouts, the fact he drained 85 of the 100 3-pointers he shot when working out for the Celtics should do the job.

Mock Draft Projections

ESPN’s Chad Ford: 8. Sacramento Kings

SB Nation: 8. Sacramento Kings

Hoops Hype: 5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Basketball Insider’s Alex Kennedy: 8. Sacramento Kings

ESPN’s Dick Vitale: No. 3 Boston Celtics

CBS Sports: No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Draft.net: No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves

Isaiah Cousins

As Hield’s best friend and college roommate, it’s no surprise that Cousins is also lauded for his tremendous work ethic, and it seems to have paid off for the New York product who averaged 12.6 ppg during his senior season. After playing off the ball throughout his early college career, head coach Lon Kruger decided to move Cousins to the point and it benefited his draft stock greatly.

Throughout the rigors of the tough Big 12 schedule, Cousins was able to prove he could orchestrate an offense at a high rate, while also making big shots such as his game winner against LSU and Ben Simmons in Baton Rouge.  His 4.5 assists per game aren’t eye-popping, but it’s definitely encouraging for a guy who’s only played point guard for one season.

Cousins was solid on the defensive end of the floor with his six-foot-six-inch wingspan, but his effort needs to improve if he wants to maximize his full ability. A huge positive of his game is that Cousins learned to improve his shot from deep. In fact, he finished fifth in OU history in three-point percentage by the end of his senior season. He’s also capable of showing up in big games, as Cousins scored 19 points against eventual National Champion Villanova when the Sooners drilled the Wildcats at Pearl Harbor in December.

With the positives come the negatives, as Cousins was often criticized for his shot selection, along with the fact he can over dribble at times on the court. He had moments where he’d try to take the game over when it wasn’t necessary, but when put in an NBA environment, tendencies like that can tend to go away.

There are some draft experts out there who believe there's a chance Cousins could sneak his way into the back of the first round, but a second round selection is likely. 

Mock Draft Projections

NBA Draft.net: No. 37 Houston Rockets

Draft Express: No. 54 Atlanta Hawks

Like most lethal scorers, Hield should be able to fix those weaknesses that have attracted criticism, and improvement is more likely than not seeing his work ethic is highly touted. Hield was known to put up shots in the gym at all times of the day at Oklahoma, so much so that he was criticized for not resting later in the season when his production slightly dipped and some blamed tired legs.

If Hield’s senior season wasn’t enough to impress NBA scouts, the fact he drained 85 of the 100 3-pointers he shot when working out for the Celtics should do the job.

Told that Buddy Hield had a 40-inch vertical today in his Lakers workout.

— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 18, 2016

Mock Draft Projections

ESPN’s Chad Ford: 8. Sacramento Kings

SB Nation: 8. Sacramento Kings

Hoops Hype: 5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Basketball Insider’s Alex Kennedy: 8. Sacramento Kings

ESPN’s Dick Vitale: No. 3 Boston Celtics

CBS Sports: No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Draft.net: No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves

Isaiah Cousins

As Hield’s best friend and college roommate, it’s no surprise that Cousins is also lauded for his tremendous work ethic, and it seems to have paid off for the New York product who averaged 12.6 ppg during his senior season. After playing off the ball throughout his early college career, head coach Lon Kruger decided to move Cousins to the point and it benefited his draft stock greatly.

Throughout the rigors of the tough Big 12 schedule, Cousins was able to prove he could orchestrate an offense at a high rate, while also making big shots such as his game winner against LSU and Ben Simmons in Baton Rouge.  His 4.5 assists per game aren’t eye-popping, but it’s definitely encouraging for a guy who’s only played point guard for one season.

Two Big 12 products to keep an eye on Thursday night: OU's Isaiah Cousins & BU's Taurean Prince. Both could be mid-to-late 1st round steals.

— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 21, 2016

Cousins was solid on the defensive end of the floor with his six-foot-six-inch wingspan, but his effort needs to improve if he wants to maximize his full ability. A huge positive of his game is that Cousins learned to improve his shot from deep. In fact, he finished fifth in OU history in three-point percentage by the end of his senior season. He’s also capable of showing up in big games, as Cousins scored 19 points against eventual National Champion Villanova when the Sooners drilled the Wildcats at Pearl Harbor in December.

With the positives come the negatives, as Cousins was often criticized for his shot selection, along with the fact he can over dribble at times on the court. He had moments where he’d try to take the game over when it wasn’t necessary, but when put in an NBA environment, tendencies like that can tend to go away.

2: On the draft front, if DeAndre Bembry or Isaiah Cousins is still around for #Spurs at 29, might be hard to pass up. Both are intriguing

— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) June 22, 2016

There are some draft experts out there who believe there's a chance Cousins could sneak his way into the back of the first round, but a second round selection is likely. 

Mock Draft Projections

NBA Draft.net: No. 37 Houston Rockets

Draft Express: No. 54 Atlanta Hawks

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The Thunder may not have a pick in Thursday’s 2016 NBA Draft, but OU's Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins are both hoping to hear their name called. 

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