Daily Thunder

Thunder Journal: Top-10 Future Thunder Player Rankings

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The rankings for players 11-20 are explained here.

20. Darius Miller (RIP)
19. Al Horford
18. Justin Jackson (RIP)
17. Mike Muscala
16. Tony Bradley
15. Josh Hall
14. Isaiah Roby
13. Vit Krejci
12. Kenrich Williams
11. Darius Bazley

10. Moses Brown

Is it too early to have him in the Top 10? Probably. Did I manipulate the rankings just a tad because of the fun symmetry of having Moses carrying the 10 banner?  I shalt not bear false witness. The truth is, he’s a 21 year old 7’2” center who was just given the Lu Dort special: an extremely valuable, team friendly contract with multiple outs for the Thunder. As a dunking double-double shot blocking machine with room to grow, Brown seems like a natural fit for the backup center role in the near future.

9. Svi Mykhailiuk

Contrary to the popular narrative, Svi wasn’t just a throw-in salary to match Hamidou Diallo so that OKC could collect another second round pick. Since joining the Thunder, Svi has averaged 10.3 points and shot 37% from long distance. The Thunder will absolutely offer him a second contract and he’ll likely be considerably cheaper than the more highly regarded Diallo. But you could argue they’re equal as players and prospects. After not dunking a single time as a Piston this season, Svi has turned into a Diallo dunk machine in OKC. He’s Hami with a jumper.

8. Ty Jerome

Of all the names and assets attached to the Chris Paul trade, Jerome was the forgotten piece. And yet he may end up being the best one. Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre and their fashion model faces are long gone, helping their teams to a last place and play-in finish, respectively. Who knows what will become of the protected future first rounder the Suns sent. But Jerome is averaging 9.7 points and shooting over 40% from downtown this season. The Ty and Theo Show should be a fun bench backcourt for years to come in OKC.

7. Theo Maledon

The French teenager made his debut on NBA.com’s Rookie Ladder this week, checking in at #10. So he is currently outplaying his draft slot by 24 spots. Over his last eight games, Theo is averaging 17.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. If not for Poku being the youngest player in the NBA, we’d all be talking about how Maledon is the sixth youngest player in the league. If not for Poku’s plentiful potential, we’d all be talking about Maledon’s untapped upside.

6. Lowest 2021 Draft pick

There’s a 47.9% chance this will be the #5 or #6 pick. There’s a 52.1% chance this will be a pick around #20. Averaging those odds in a loaded draft, this placement feels about right. If Sam Presti was able to turn the #17 and #34 picks in a supposedly weak draft into a pair of record breaking 19 year old teammates, imagine what he can do with two top 10 picks, or even a top 5 and a top 20 pick, in a stacked draft.

5. Lu Dort

I can feel you judging me, Daily Thunder reader. You thought Lu was going to be #2. I get it. We all love Luguentz. Dort’s defensive abilities are Robersonesque and his offense is the best to come from a starting Thunder shooting guard since Thabo Sefolosha’s randomly amazing 2012-13 season. Dort is only 21 years old and will likely be a longtime resident in the 405. But as great as Dort is, he lacks the top end talent to finish in the Final 4.

4. Aleksej Pokusevski

Sam Presti consolidated assets gained from the Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder and Jerami Grant trades to draft a 7 foot 18 year old who proudly adorns fanny packs and dates women way out of his league. That kind of confidence and bravado should keep him in the league and on the Thunder for a very long time. Oh, and despite some burying his career after his first 10 games, Dork Nowitski has flashed superstar talent since returning from the G League Bubble. Serb Ibaka has the highest ceiling on the team outside of–and maybe even including–SGA.

3. 2022 Draft pick

2022 is likely the last time this decade the Thunder will be talent strapped enough to land an elite level talent in another supposedly stacked draft. With SGA’s leap and the possibility of a top end 2021 rookie in tow, not to mention a plethora of pups popping as ideal role players, OKC will set their sights on the 2023 playoffs. But before they do, they’ll load one more blue chip bullet in the clip before reloading with future Clippers picks.

2. Highest 2021 Draft pick

The Thunder should end the season with about a nice 69% chance at a top 5 pick in the upcoming draft. Considering those odds and given the blue chip, elite talent at the top of the draft board, OKC’s best shot at another homegrown star resides in this rookie class. We’re hoping for a Cade or Evan, but a Jonathan or Jaylen would be just fine as well. The entire season strategy of suck has been laser focused on this mystery player.

1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The Thunder began this rebuild with infinity first round picks and swaps, but nothing is more important than finding a young star. Turns out, OKC had one in layaway before the new era even tipped off. The question surrounding SGA started as “can he be the third best player on a contender?” and flipped quickly to “can he be the second best player on a contender?” and for the moment has settled on “can he be the best player on a contender?”. Just like Cameron Payne before him, SGA might have no ceiling.

The Thunder face of the franchise really went from Kevin Durant to Russell Westbrook to Chris Paul to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Only 13 thirteen seasons in and the Thunder already have a Mount Rushmore.


Author

Brandon Rahbar
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