Tag: D.J. Augustin

Cameron Payne, Reece Chamberlain

Rumor: Thunder promised to draft Cameron Payne No. 14


In 2011, there were rumors the Thunder promised to draft Reggie Jackson with the No. 24 pick.

The Thunder drafted Jackson with the No. 24 pick.

In 2014, the Thunder made a pre-draft arrangement with Josh Huestis.

The Thunder drafted Huestis with the No. 29 pick.

In 2015…

Chad Ford of ESPN:

As for the Thunder, since late last week there’s been a lot of buzz among rival GMs that the Thunder promised Cameron Payne they’d take him at 14. I don’t know how much of that is smoke, but he is a great fit at 14 and talent wise he may be the best pure point guard in the draft.

This rumor is believable because the Thunder have shown they operate this way. But because the rumor is believable, perhaps opposing general managers are too quick to accept it.

Payne is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Murray State. He blends scoring and passing skills well, but he’s not a big threat to score in the paint through shots at the rim or free throws. Payne is built to run point in a pick-and-roll league, especially if his 3-point shot continues to develop. He should get drafted in the middle of the first round.

Oklahoma City already has point guards Russell Westbrook and D.J. Augustin under contract for next season, and both appear to be better than Payne in the short-term. The Thunder – especially because Kevin Durant is entering free agency – should be focused on winning a title next year.

But it’s unlikely they draft anyone, regardless of position, who substantially helps them achieve that goal. If they see Payne as the best long-term prospect, they should draft him. And if a promise convinces him to skip other workouts, that might be the right way to approach this.

Kobe Bryant takes to Twitter to defend Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

While Russell Westbrook has been putting up ridiculous lines and racking up triple-doubles seemingly nightly, his efficiency and the volume of his shooting has come into question.

With some reason. Back on April 1 he was 10-of-32 shooting. April 3 it was 5-of-20. April 5 it was 12-of-29. You get the idea.

So when he put up 54 points Sunday in a Thunder loss, there was some talk of his 43 shot attempts. That’s a lot of attempts. He used 51.7 percent of the team’s possessions when he was on the court. He was an unrepentant gunner, but with Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka out what do you expect of Westbrook?

Kobe Bryant — the patron saint of putting up a lot of shots when your teammates are questionable — came to Westbrook’s defense.

Westbrook has certainly not always been efficient in putting up big numbers, but that has gotten too much blame for the losses the Thunder racked up. The bigger issue is the Thunder defense can’t stop anyone.

Offensively, things can get a bit stagnant when Westbrook takes over for OKC. But if the alternative is more Dion Waiters or D.J. Augustin, I’m okay with that.

Russell Westbrook ferociously throws down alley-oop against Lakers (video)

Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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The two-point-guard back court of D.J. Augustin and Russell Westbrook has been a net negative for the Thunder. But, sometimes, it works in spectacular fashion.

This is why Russell Westbrook is viewed as the NBA’s best point guard. That athleticism is just scary.