Friday Bolts – 6.23.17

Jenni Carlson: “But the more pressing question is this: does the Thunder have time to let him develop into that sidekick? Ferguson is a project. No two ways around that. For starters, he’s slight. 6-foot-7, 190 pounds. Thin players can excel in the NBA — see, Tayshaun Prince, Jamal Crawford and yes, Kevin Durant — but Ferguson is going to have to add some pounds. But his skills scream two-way wing. Or three-and-D player. Or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. He’s a wing with shooting range and defensive ability. The Thunder needs both.”

Erik Horne: “Drafting at No. 21 overall rarely guarantees a surefire contributor. The Thunder has hit as many times as it’s missed, but its hits have been keys to success. Serge Ibaka. Reggie Jackson. Andre Roberson. Each of those selections came at different junctures in the Thunder’s young story as a franchise. The building (Ibaka in 2008), the strengthening (Jackson in 2011), and the fine-tuning (Roberson in 2013). Which phase is this? There will be more moves between now and the beginning of the season, but maybe Ferguson will help reveal it.”

Jeremy Woo of SI.com gives OKC a B+: “Ferguson shut down his workouts late in the predraft process and was believed to have a promise somewhere in the first round. The Thunder may have been that promise. OKC takes a nice upside swing here in a draft where three-point shooting is at a premium. Ferguson is still raw after a year of pro ball in Australia, but can really shoot it and brings some added athleticism on the wing. He needs time to develop his game off the dribble and put on weight. The Thunder could have gone a more win-now route for Russell Westbrook’s sake, but this is a measured long-term play on one of the higher-upside players available.”

CBS Sports gave OKC a B+.

Fred Katz: “Still, Ferguson is somewhat of an unknown. He’s underdeveloped and raw. One opposing scout told The Transcript he had confidence in his shooting and described him as a “very good athlete,” typical of the type Presti has favored in the draft ever since becoming general manager in 2007. But while the Thunder and the rest of the NBA wait to find out if Ferguson can figure out his athleticism and shooting ability at a higher level, Presti confirmed something about himself: His draft strategy is a deep philosophy, one he holds onto tightly regardless of his organization’s circumstances.”

Lang Whitaker of NBA.com: “Looking at the bigger picture, the NBA’s shift to a league that increasingly values perimeter play was perhaps reflected by an early run on guards and forwards. The first center picked was Gonzaga’s Zach Collins (No. 10), and just six of the first 30 players picked were centers. Also, the NBA continued trending younger, as the first four-year college player selected was Derrick White, who went 29th overall to San Antonio. At the 2017 NBA Draft, there were sleek suits, big hair, bare ankles and big names. If these players do their part this season, the 2018 Draft could be radically different than this year’s version. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised if things stay the same. The same as it ever was.”

Ricky O’Donnell of SB Nation gives OKC a B: “The Thunder needed shooting and athleticism next to Russell Westbrook. Theoretically, Terrance Ferguson can provide that. Let’s see if the reality of Ferguson as a player is as good as the idea of him.”

Chad Ford gives OKC a B-: “The Thunder swung for the fences with Ferguson. He has the size, athleticism and jump shot to be a very good NBA wing. But teams were turned off after poor workouts and questions about why he left Arizona to play pro ball in Australia. If his performance in the NBA is anything like it was in the Nike Hoop Summit, the Thunder got great value here. He seems like a boom or bust prospect.”