We are back with another look at the draft. This time we focus on more realistic options for the 6th pick. Nevertheless, Presti could still strike gold even while standing pat.
Over the course of two weeks, media members have waffled between a 4 or 6 player draft. The debate settled with the emergence of Scottie Barnes. What was once a clear top-5 has transitioned to 6. Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Kuminga, and Barnes appear to be the swing guys of the draft. Each player brings a unique style and skillset to the game. Along with these top prospects, we will take a look at the fascinating fan-favorite, Vrenz Bleijenbergh.
Jalen Suggs | Gonzaga | 20 Years Old | 6-4 Guard
Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.9 STL, 50.3 FG%, 33.7 3P%, 76.1 FT%
We begin with Jalen Suggs, sit down and watch him play and you will instantly see a relentless competitor. The explosive guard out of Gonzaga bullies his way to the rim whenever he wants. Suggs’ high-level athleticism makes him a threat in transition, but what makes Suggs so intriguing is pairing his freak athleticism, with great basketball IQ. The jump-shot needs minor improvements but could make Suggs an all-star caliber player. Defensively, Jalen stalks passing lanes and grabs steals that lead directly to fast break chances. Length and explosiveness help him stay in front of his man and contest a variety of shots. Of the remaining top-6 players, Suggs definitely has the highest floor.
High basketball IQ allows Suggs to turn defense into offense in a matter of seconds, like the incredible play above.
A backcourt of Suggs and Shai makes for a fun brand of basketball. Initially, there would be kinks to work through, but both players make high-level decisions and look to get others involved. On the flip side, a pairing of Dort and Jalen would create a multitude of problems for opposing offenses. Maybe, just maybe OKC gets lucky enough to see Suggs slide to 6.
Scottie Barnes | Florida State | 19 Years Old | 6-8 Wing
Stats: 10.3 PPG, 4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.5 STL, 50.3 FG%, 27.5% 3P%, 62.1 FT%
Following a disappointing lottery, Thunder fans quickly jumped aboard the Barnes Bandwagon. As Barnes crept up draft boards fans quickly realized maybe he won’t make it to 6. Either way, Barnes brings an infectious spirit everywhere he goes and pairing that with 7-2 wingspan makes for a nice combo. Despite his big frame, Scottie’s best attributes on offense come from his high level passing and ball-handling. The shot needs some major improvements after poor shooting numbers at FSU but seems to be on the upswing . Defensively, he defends 1 thru 5 and creates all kinds of problem with his length and energy. There is no doubt Barnes will find a role in the NBA, however shooting will determine just how big it is.
Scottie’s energy is infectious and rises even higher after making big plays like the one above.
The fit in OKC is about as good as it gets. Mark Daigneault and Sam Presti seem in search of a truly position-less team with smart, high-level passers and Barnes only adds to their arsenal. Playing alongside Lu Dort will surely heighten the defensive ceiling for Barnes, as they could ultimately become the best defending duo in the league. I think Scottie could fall to 6 due to shooting concerns, but believe in the shot improving under the guidance of OKC’s development department.
Jonathan Kuminga | G-League Ignite | 18 Years Old | 6-6 Wing
Stats: 15.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1 STL, 38.7 FG%, 24.6 3P%, 62.5 FT%
Lately it seems Kuminga is the least talked about top-6 prospect. The boom or bust nature of Jonathan scares away not only fans, but the national media. The shooting percentages are certainly causes for concern, but he brings much more to the table. Kuminga showed flashes of real shot-creation, especially in the post. Likewise, he is virtually unstoppable in transition and makes nice cuts during offensive sets. The shot needs a little work but I believe Kuminga’s desire to be an elite-level scorer will elevate his percentages. On the other side, Kuminga owns all the tools necessary to be a plus-defender but did not impress in limited g-league action. A strong system of accountability should iron out the defensive issues and push him to the next level.
Kuminga is only scratching the surface of his potential but the clip above displays how dangerous he is in transition.
It is easy to overlook the jump from high school to the g-league, as it is a big deal to go from AAU level competition to fringe-NBA competition. Therefore, fit will probably determine how successful Kuminga is in the NBA. OKC’s focus on development provides a great environment for a player of this caliber to perfect their craft. At the end of the day it’s hard to pass on an 18 year-old wing with incredible two-way potential. Kuminga has the potential to be an All-NBA player and I don’t think Presti can pass that up.
In the News
Vrenz Bleijenbergh | Belgium | 20 Years-Old | 6-10 Wing
Throughout the past week Thunder twitter has flown into a frenzy thanks to Bleijenbergh’s recent workout in OKC. The young wing is most definitely a sleeper in the draft and has the potential to become a secondary ball-handler while also guarding 1 thru 5 on defense. Vrenz sports a smooth, lightning-quick stroke from deep and crafty passing ability. It is hard to overstate his incredible court vision that directly translates to Vrenz being a superb PnR ball-handler. Length allows him to alter shots and disrupt passing lanes. Despite being an unproven player, Vrenz possesses all the intangibles to be a great player. As for the fit, he’s another fantastic passer that plays position-less basketball. Poku and Vrenz sharing the court would be must see TV. With that being said I am all in on Vrenzzz Mania.
When it comes to draft night there are a plethora of possible outcomes. The most likely being OKC drafting whoever remains at pick 6. Personally I hope Kuminga slips into Presti’s hands giving OKC a physical, scoring wing to pair alongside Shai and Poku. Presti’s track record in the lottery is reason to be excited for what is to come. The remainder of the first round will be filled with question marks due to the abundance of talent. Players could land anywhere from 7 to 22 and nobody would be surprised and I look forward to diving deeper next time.