Oklahoma City Thunder select Mitch McGary 21st overall


The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Mitch McGary with their 21st overall pick, in what will likely make the Thunder the most hated front court to play against in the league by a landslide.

Everyone hated playing against Steven Adams this year because of his physicality and disregard for contact. He ended the Grizzlies’ season by getting Zach Randolph to punch him in the face. Vince Carter elbowed him in the face. He made Chris Paul angry by accidentally elbowing him. Basically, Adams built up a reputation as a rookie and made the entire league hate him.

Mitch McGary is essentially this year’s Steven Adams.

McGary consistently sets hard screens, fouls the crap out of people, and throws his body around with reckless abandon. But while he’s not nearly as athletic as Adams is, he actually has much more basketball sense and skill. McGary has pretty solid high post vision and can be counted on to make the smart, correct pass. He has the semblance of a solid midrange jumper, and knows how to position himself solidly on the defensive end in the post.

McGary probably would have been a late lottery pick last season, which A. goes to show how bad last year’s draft was and B. goes to show how inflated his stock is. My guess is that McGary is never more than a backup big man. He’s already 22, and he’d have a long way to go to make himself into a viable starting-caliber NBA center. However, I do think that it’s likely he plays a Nick Collison-like role at the next level, which is perfect for what the Thunder are looking for given that Collison’s contract is up after next season. The hope is that Collison can teach him some of the tricks of the trade in how to be a reliable, fundamental big man. After Kendrick Perkins’ and Collison’s deals run out after next season, the Thunder should be in good hands with a rotation of Serge Ibaka, a third-year Adams, and a second-year McGary. Considering how many minutes Kevin Durant plays at the small ball four, that’s probably all they’ll need.

I don’t love this pick from an upside standpoint, but it’s probably one that will help the Thunder organization shore up their front court going into the future.