The Oklahoma City Thunder is only a couple pieces away from getting back to the NBA Finals. One of those pieces is a big man that can consistently score. Free agency is one option to acquire a center, but the Thunder would prefer to draft a player that could have an immediate impact. That is why Oklahoma City must consider selecting Kelly Olynyk with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Olynyk stepped his game up in a big way this past season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The 22-year-old averaged 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 blocks and 26.4 minutes per game. He also converted 62.9 percent of his 10.7 shot attempts per game and 30.0 percent from beyond the arc. Needless to stay, it was a career year for Olynyk, one that will make him a top 15 selection.
There is a good chance that Olynyk will be off the board by the time the Thunder pick. However, if he is still available then the organization must truly consider drafting him. To have someone of his talent and versatility at the center position does not come along often, which is why Oklahoma City must jump at the chance to improve the team tenfold.
“He is one guy that is not afraid to make a play,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few told the Toronto Star in January. “He is multitalented in regards that he can drive it comfortably, he can pass it and he can shoot it.”
The 7’0”, 234-pound center dominates in the post and plays with a lot of energy. He is not the most athletic big man, but he has plenty of size and intelligence to contribute immediately at the next level. He can consistently score around the basket while he is also capable of knocking down mid-range jump shots, which is something that will make him very difficult to defend in the NBA.
Kendrick Perkins posted arguably the worst season of his career. The Thunder simply cannot afford to allow their starting center to have another dismal year when the team has so much potential to be champions. At this point, Oklahoma City cannot take any more chances and must make a change if the right opportunity presents itself.