NBA Mock Draft: Thunder Play it Safe, Then Gamble with 16th and 18th Picks

This post was originally published on this site

The NBA Draft is just eight days away, but there’s still plenty of time to see the stocks of prospects rise and fall.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner recently updated his NBA Draft big board, with plenty of prospects rising and falling even just days away.

The likes of James Bouknight, Cameron Johnson, and others have surged ahead on O’Conners board, leaving plenty of valuable prospects for the Thunder to nab at No. 16 and 18.

At 16th, O’Conner has Keon Johnson, who was previously ranked a mid-lottery talent.

Johnson is a tantalizing athlete. At just19-years-old, Johnson has plenty of room to grow, and has already shown promise as a defender. He’s got plenty of winning qualities, and should his offense continue developing at the professional level, he’ll be a valuable contributor.

Weeks ago, Johnson was a prospect for OKC to consider with the sixth overall pick. At No. 16, he’s a no-brainer.

At No. 18, O’Conner has big man Kai Jones, potentially the most interesting prospect in the draft.


NBA Mock Draft: More Smoke Connecting Bouknight, Oklahoma City

WATCH: Jaden Springer at 2021 NBA Combine

A backup center who played a limited role behind Greg Brown at Texas, Jones is as raw as they come. He got a late start in basketball, but is already 20-years-old. Truthfully, even his stats are lackluster.

Positives include defensive instincts and incredible athleticism, both of which NBA scouts hope he can grow into with professional development. A quick, mobile center, Jones could very well grow into the center of the future.

Jones is the gamble of all gambles, but could reap great rewards if Oklahoma City was to lean into his development.

The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m.