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NBA Mock Draft 2011: Thunder Take Nikola Mirotic At No. 24

With the No. 24 pick in the SB Nation 2011 NBA Mock Draft, Welcome To Loud City, picking for the Oklahoma City Thunder, picks Nikola Mirotic, a Montenegran forward. Zorgon from WTLC explains the selection.

At this point, the Thunder are pretty set in their rotation. They've got a couple of project big men sitting on their roster, and they're deep at PG with Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor, and Nate Robinson. However, they would welcome the presence of a scoring small forward that could provide some relief for Kevin Durant, be more dynamic than Daequan Cook, and help keep the Thunder from the terrible offensive droughts they experienced in last year's playoffs.

Kyle Singler would seem to be the most viable option in some eyes. But he doesn't bring anything defensively, and we all know what happens to dynamic college scorers with no defense (Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick ring a bell?). Chandler Parsons gives the same thing, except he's more of a playmaker and less dynamic of a scorer, which isn't really what the Thunder are looking for. With those two guys out, I look to Europe for viable options. Davis Bertrans of Latvia is a guy with a lot of potential, but he's failed to have an above average game while playing against the tougher Euroleague competition, and has only really succeeded on the domestic level. This leaves Nikola Mirotic. He's a starter on Real Madrid, who got to the Euroleague semifinals last year. On that team are NBA vets Sergio Rodriguez and Jorge Garbajosa, both of whom are worse statistically than Mirotic. Lastly, he's big enough to match up with both Small and Power Forwards defensively, going along with the Thunder's defensive mentality. The Thunder can afford to stash him away for a year or two, yet he's also ready enough to come to the NBA should he be needed. It's a win-win. Honestly, I don't know why this guy wasn't selected higher on the board.

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