Oklahoma City Thunder – C-
23rd Overall – Darius Bazley, Forward (USA)
The Oklahoma City Thunder had been looking for ways to unload the 21st overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, rumors even had the team willing to attach Steven Adams, Dennis Schroeder, or Andre Roberson to the pick for cap relief. They would end up making a deal involving the 21st pick but it would turn out to just be a simple pick swap as they sent their original pick to the Memphis Grizzlies in return for the 23rd overall pick.
With that pick, the Thunder decided to take Darius Bazley an intern for Puma last year. Before that, Bazley was one of the top high school prospects in the country and was on his way to attending Syracuse University. Instead, he opted to attempt to go right to the NBA Gatorade League but soon after announcing that he decided against that as well, which led to him becoming a million-dollar intern for Puma. In his time away from organized basketball, Bazley would workout and train for a year before entering the NBA draft.
With Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Oklahoma City is certainly not lacking for star power. Yet, their role players have been disappointing and have been unable to pick up the slack for the two stars when they needed it, particularly in the postseason. No one knows what Bazley will look like after a year away from basketball, but just from a build standpoint, he fits the mold of what the thunder and Sam Presti love to chase after. Bazley is a tall and lanky athlete. Take this for what it’s worth but in high school, he was very comfortable putting the ball on the floor and getting shots for himself and his teammates. If he could provide something similar to the Thunder it would make life easier for Westbrook and George going forward.
With the Western Conference up for grabs, next season the Thunder will assuredly do all they can to form a roster worthy of contending for the top seed. Nothing is ever set in stone with Presti calling the shots but there is a chance that Bazley has a big role for Oklahoman City and soon.