ESPN.com has OKC No. 2 in Future Rankings, and here’s Kevin Pelton on it: “On a more positive note, according to our panel Oklahoma City still has the best talent in the league. Not only are Durant and Westbrook just entering their primes, but they and forward Serge Ibaka are all locked up through at least the 2015-16 season, leaving the Thunder’s championship window wide open. Westbrook will be back healthy in October, and Oklahoma City can build on the best regular-season point differential since the 2007-08 Boston Celtics. But there are still questions. Will the Thunder bring back Kevin Martin to play the role of high-scoring sixth man? And can Kendrick Perkins stop his backslide, given that the team has ruled out using the amnesty provision to remove the last two years of his onerous contract from the books? With the franchise’s reluctance to pay the luxury tax limiting options in free agency, highly-rated Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti will have to mine contributors on rookie contracts from last year’s newcomers (Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb) and this year’s pair of first-round picks, including the 12th overall pick via the Harden trade.”
Darnell Mayberry on Daniel Orton: “I have no idea what he will do. But I know what he should do. That’s stick around. Not simply because this is his hometown. That’d be silly. But also because he’s in a good situation with a great organization. Even if he doesn’t play much next year he’ll still be surrounded by people who genuinely care about his development and well-being. After two wasted seasons in Orlando, chances are Daniel knows just how critical that is in this league.”
The Rockets are shopping Thomas Robinson. Interested?
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider on Shabazz Muhammad: “With his motor, toughness and natural aggression scoring the ball, Muhammad has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best scorer in a draft devoid of talented scorers. The question is, when will a team take a chance on him? The two teams in the top 10 with the most interest appear to be the Detroit Pistons at No. 8 and the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 9. Sources say that new Timberwolves GM Flip Saunders is especially high on Muhammad and feels the team needs to add scorers. Outside of the top 10, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz all are natural fits. While a draft range of No. 8 to 14 is far from the No. 1 pick, it might just be what the doctor ordered for Muhammad. After being hyped his whole career, an escape from such crushing expectations might give him the freedom he needs to live up to his lofty potential.”
Jay Bilas describing Kelly Olynyk: “Olynyk is a true 7-footer who is very skilled and has the ability to step away from the basket and hit an open jump shot to 3-point range. He is very efficient, can play with his back to the basket or face up and stretch the floor.”
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com: “James Harden got traded, Westbrook got hurt, Oklahoma City got beat in five games in the semifinals and, now, the Thunder will be picking 12th on June 27. Of all the developments that would have been difficult to imagine nine months ago, this is the one they welcome. Or sort of welcome. The ideal OKC outcome would have been for the Raptors to land in the top three on lottery night. Toronto would have kept this pick and had the choice set to be conveyed to the Thunder carried over to 2014 in what is shaping up as a much better Draft. But Toronto held at 12, the protection became irrelevant, and the Thunder would have to be satisfied by having one of the best teams in the league and still being able to add a late lottery pick.”