Thunder need shooting to help Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder will be one of the title favorites next season, but they could use some knock-down shooters to space the floor for their stars.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had quite the eventful season. Russell Westbrook's knee problems gave Kevin Durant the opportunity to really shine, and Durant's monster campaign won him his first MVP award.

With Westbrook back for the stretch run, the Thunder seemed poise to make a championship charge. There were some rough patches en route to the Western Conference Finals, but Oklahoma City got past the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers to set up a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.

Serge Ibaka's calf injury helped put the Thunder in a 2-0 hole, and although they would win the next two games with Ibaka back in the lineup, they just didn't have enough to get past the Spurs juggernaut. But despite the disappointing finish, Oklahoma City has a promising future ahead of them. Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka remain one of the most talented cores in the league, and with some more development from younger players to go along with some quality offseason additions, the Thunder could be title favorites next season.

The assets

Picks: No. 21, No. 29
Free agents: Thabo Sefolosha, Caron Butler
Cap space: -$4.4 million

Depth chart

PG: Russell Westbrook - Reggie Jackson - Derek Fisher (retired)

SG: Thabo Sefolosha (UFA) - Jeremy Lamb

SF: Kevin Durant - Caron Butler (UFA) - Andre Roberson - Perry Jones III

PF: Serge Ibaka - Nick Collison - Grant Jerrett

C: Kendrick Perkins - Steven Adams - Hasheem Thabeet (non-guaranteed)

Team needs

The Thunder may be one of the most talented teams in the league, but they do have some clear needs, especially considering Caron Butler and Derek Fisher both played major roles in the postseason. Specifically, Oklahoma City needs some shooting to help space the floor for its stars.

Fisher is gone to coach the New York Knicks, while Butler really struggled in the postseason and likely won't be back. Thabo Sefolosha is a free agent, and the fact that he was benched in the playoffs for his poor performance could mean he's on his way out the door.

Jeremy Lamb should see an increased role next season, and perhaps he can be the knockdown shooter Oklahoma City is hoping to find. Even if he is, it would help to land another quality shooter or two so teams can't sell out so much on Durant and Westbrook.

The Thunder could also use a bit more help in the frontcourt, especially if the amnesty provision is used on Kendrick Perkins. Another point guard would be useful as well considering Fisher is gone and Jackson may start alongside Westbrook.


With two picks late in the first round, the Thunder will have a great chance to upgrade their talent base. There are a lot of quality wings available in this draft, so even if the best ones are all off the board, there shouldn't be any reason to panic.

P.J. Hairston would be a nice choice, as he has already proven that he can score at a high level in both college and the D-League. With a little professional experience already under his belt, he may be a bit more NBA-ready than some other players.

Kyle Anderson is an interesting name to watch as well. Anderson is one of the more intriguing players in the draft, and his versatility could fit in really well with Oklahoma City. The youngster can play point guard as well as on the wing, and he did knock down a high percentage from three, albeit on limited attempts. Also, adding Anderson's length to an already super long Thunder team would be quite scary for the opposition.

For a big man, Clint Capela could be seen as another Ibaka type. Capela is raw, but he has athletic tools similar to Ibaka and could be another defensive menace in the paint.

In free agency, the Thunder won't have any cap space, but they're set to have the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available. Oklahoma City also has a $6.5 million trade exception from the Kevin Martin trade. The luxury tax is a concern, but the cap going up about $5 million helps. The Thunder could also simply amnesty Perkins and not worry about the tax at all while putting their exceptions to full use, but it's unclear what the plan is with the big man.

Some potential shooters that could be pursued on the cheap in free agency include players like Vince Carter, Anthony Morrow, Jodie Meeks and Nick Young.

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