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2010 NBA Draft Analysis: Oklahoma City Thunder

While you were sleeping, the Oklahoma City Thunder general manager, Sam Presti and the front office made some draft night moves that will have fans questioning their logic.

The Thunder traded away rights to former University of Kentucky guard, Eric Bledsoe, to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future first round draft pick.

Bledsoe was the eighteenth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft and could have added some much needed depth and skill at the two guard spot for the Thunder next season.

As a freshman at Kentucky, Bledsoe averaged 11.3 points per game 2.9 assists and 3.1 per game and shot 38% from behind the three point line. He promptly declared for the NBA draft after being named a Freshman All-American while helping Kentucky to reach the NCAA Final Four this past April.

Bledsoe is one of five Wildcat players that were taken in the first round of last night’s draft. That was also the most amount of players drafted by any one school in the first round and the most ever picked in the first round of any draft for the University of Kentucky.

The Thunder also traded a future second round pick to the Miami Heat, for forward Latavious Williams, the 48th overall pick. Williams is the first player ever to be drafted out of the NBA’s Developmental League, after forgoing a year of college to gain pro experience in preparation for an eventual jump to the NBA.

With the help of a long, athletic, 6’8 frame Williams averaged 7.7 points per game and 7.7 rebounds a game, while shooting 52.8% from the field while with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers.

Power forward Ryan Reid, the 57th overall pick out of Florida State was acquired by the Thunder along with cash, for the rights to Louisiana Tech post player, Magnum Rolle from the Pacers.

Reid is one of only three Seminoles to have played in the postseason for four years while at Florida State and started 29 of a possible 31 games during his senior season. He averaged 6.8 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game 22.7 minutes per game.

Now, with other draft night acquisitions including former University of Kansas center, Cole Aldrich and German-born post player, Tibor Pleiss, it is no secret that the Thunder are looking to add depth and youth to their front court and are either looking to free agency or future trades to help boost an already talented backcourt.

Trading Eric Bledsoe may have been a great move for Presti and head coach Scott Brook looking back on this draft night in years to come, but at present it nullifies the reason for taking him at eighteen. Bledsoe was a bargain there, yes, but so were other post players, including former Texas small forward Damion James, former University of Washington small forward Quincy Pondexter and former University of Kentucky power forward Daniel Orton.

It seems trivial to draft the best player remaining in a draft, only because he is there to be taken if the Thunder have no use for him. But they could absolutely use the services of Bledsoe, right now. His ability to knock down threes and play perimeter defense are both things that could ideally help the Thunder in the upcoming season.

It will be interesting to see just what Presti and Brooks were thinking with the sudden need for big men. The lack of thought for a backcourt with Russell Westbrook and James Harden that could use some much need help may come back to haunt them.


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