The Oklahoma City Thunder were derailed in large part, if not totally, by Russell Westbrook's injury during the playoffs. With their point guard healthy again next season, they shouldn't have many holes to fill this offseason. They will once again be NBA title contenders and any additions at this point are complementary pieces, designed to help Kevin Durant and Westbrook win their first championship
Oklahoma City has the advantage of a lottery pick this year, an asset acquired in last season's James Harden trade, and with it they will have the chance to pick up an immediate impact player. That is the first of three picks in the first 32 selections that have the Thunder primed to get even better and younger than their already-good, young squad is.
Trading Harden netted the Thunder Jeremy Lamb and Kevin Martin, along with two first-round picks and a second-round pick. While the jury is still out on Lamb, the Thunder have the chance to add to their gaggle of young players with the No. 12, No. 29 and No. 32 picks in this year's draft.
The Thunder don't have many assets that they would want to move for extra picks this year, nor do they need any more picks. If they do many any moves, it would likely be to package the picks they do have to move up in the draft.
The following players are under contract for the 2013-14 season:
Point Guards: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson
Shooting Guards: Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lamb
Small Forwards: Kevin Durant, DeAndre Liggins
The Thunder have Durant ($17.8 million in 2013-14), Westbrook ($14.7 million) and Ibaka ($12.4 million) locked up for several more years, so they have the core of their team secured. The three are all signed to lucrative contracts that will take up the bulk of OKC's cap, but there is no doubt that Durant and Westbrook are worth it. The Thunder made Ibaka a priority just a year ago, so they will remain committed to him.
Beyond their three key players, the Thunder have to continue to pay Perkins more than he is worth, although they may try to move him. Sefolosha's contract is up after the 2013-14 season, so they may try to re-sign him, while the Thunder will continue to hope that Lamb and their 2012 first-round selection, Perry Jones III, can develop enough to make an impact. Both can contribute at a bargain price for the next few years.
The primary goal for the Thunder may be to replace free-agent Kevin Martin, which means finding an impact scorer off the bench and a shooter to stretch the floor unless they think Lamb is going to take a gigantic step forward. They could also use another small forward because unless Jones is ready to go, there is nobody to back up Durant.
The advantage of being such a good team and drafting so high is that you don't necessarily need to reach for a player who fits a need and can pick the best talent available or someone who may be a few years off, if you choose. That will open up a lot of options for the Thunder at No. 12, where an intriguing, long-term project like Steven Adams (scouting report) might be available.
If the Thunder do look for a more ideal fit who can play right away, they can hope that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (scouting report) falls to them. He would give OKC the great shooter they need at the position -- shooting guard -- where they need one. Shabazz Muhammad (scouting report) might be a reach at No. 12, but he's a wing who can knock down shots off the catch from day one.
With their picks at No. 29 and No 32, the Thunder may be able to snag Glen Rice Jr. (scouting report), who would fit as a wing with a good shot. Ideally, Allen Crabbe (scouting report) would be available to them and they could snag maybe the best shooter in the draft, but he's unlikely to fall that far. Oklahoma City will probably use one of their two late picks on a European player that they can stash in Europe for a year.