2014 NBA Draft: Oklahoma City Thunder Reached Too Far With Selection Of Mitch McGary At No. 21

By Matt Barnes

The biggest problem the Oklahoma City Thunder had in the 2013-14 NBA season was their inability to score points with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the bench.

Reggie Jackson provided streaky spurts of athleticism and offensive efficiency, but couldn’t produce at a steady enough rate to allow Westbrook and Durant to earn a well-deserved water break. Durant led the league in points per game (32.0) but also finished third in minutes per game at 38.5 — 0.2 behind league leaders Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler.

Plain and simple: Durant and Westbrook need offensive help. Mitch McGary does not rectify the offensive ineptitude the OKC bench exhibited at times during this past season.

With Thabo Sefolosha becoming a free agent, guard Jeremy Lamb likely slides into the starting rotation for the Thunder, taking with him his 8.5 PPG. This leaves more of a void on the Thunder bench. A more appropriate pick at 21 for the Thunder would have been someone like Cleanthony Early, P.J. Hairston or Shabazz Napier.

All three of these players would provide the offensive spark off the bench the Thunder desperately need when Batman and Robin are taking a seat. Hairston can flat-out score the rock. Napier simply makes plays. Their offensive creativity and playmaking ability could have propelled the Thunder to another Finals appearance, perhaps a ring this time. Sadly, they didn’t select any of those three.

McGary’s toughness and size will be good complementary pieces to future All-Star Serge Ibaka and future starter Steven Adams. If they re-sign him, Kendrick Perkins can teach McGary how to be intimidating and use his size to his mental advantage. McGary isn’t a bad pick, but has had problems with drugs.

If he can stay out of trouble and polish his offensive game to provide the Thunder with quality minutes as a big off the bench, GM Sam Presti may have worked his magic again. With that said, he is not the player the Thunder needed.

Matt Barnes is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @mpb9792.

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