By Calvin Alexander
For 2011 the Thunder had only one draft pick, the 24th overall pick out of Boston College, not Mr. October but the same name, Reggie Jackson was picked. Jackson was an excellent backup point guard and a good 6th man of the year candidate until he spoke out about becoming an NBA starter. Jackson showed some upside with the minutes he was getting but his agent demanded a trade. Presti traded Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, and a future first round draft pick for Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, D.J. Augustin, and Steve Novak. This was a lot to get back in a trade deal and ultimately Presti won this trade. Enes Kanter has turned out to work well in the Thunder system. Until Kanter’s injury earlier this year his numbers were the best of his career. Now it looks like the Thunder might trade Kanter this off-season since his contract has a couple of years remaining and it’s unclear if Kanter is close to entering his prime years or not. For a 24th overall pick to be traded for Kanter who was a top 3 pick, I would say job well done by Presti and staff. The Thunder did trade away a first rounder to Utah in this deal but Utah will only receive the draft pick if it falls in the lottery from 2018-2020. Otherwise, Utah will end up getting the Thunder’s 2020 and 2021 second round picks. As long as Westbrook stays in OKC the Thunder should make the playoffs and keep their first round draft picks. Kanter hasn’t turned into a superstar but he is a great role player, Grade B+, could be higher depending if the Thunder trade Kanter this off-season or not.
The 2012 draft is a bit of a cautious tale for NBA fans, with the 28th overall selection the Thunder took PJ3 from Baylor University. Jones, a 6’11” Forward with the ability to create his own shot, it seemed like Jones could be KD-lite. Of course playing in the BIG 12 conference a lot of Thunder fans had watched Jones play and were excited to see him in a Thunder jersey. Jones played in 143 games for the Thunder and started in 21 games; his most memorable game was the year of KD’s foot injury in which Jones got some extra playing time, he scored 32 points in the second game of the 2014-2015 NBA season and played a lot of games that season for the Thunder before he injured his knee. After the injury, Jones was never the same. He was ultimately traded for a 2018 second round pick to the Celtics. Jones is playing in the D-League for the Iowa Energy now (associate with the Minnesota Timberwolves). For Presti to use the 28th overall pick on Jones who contributed to the team, that was a brilliant move at the time. As always injuries are a possibility and unfortunately Jones hoping to make it back on an NBA roster, which makes the grade a C+. After researching more about the 2011 and 2012 drafts, Thunder fans should be hopeful when it comes to this year’s draft, the Thunder seem to find valuable players outside of the lottery picks.