OKC GM keeping options open with 14th pick

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Not even the apparent magical powers of Russell Westbrook's shirt could bring good fortune on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday at the NBA draft lottery.

"Russell's not banned, but that particular shirt may not make another appearance," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said by phone Tuesday. "The only disappointing thing for us this evening is that no one got to see his pants."

Westbrook represented the Thunder at the draft lottery on Tuesday, wearing an expected loud and colorful shirt, but was unable to produce a top-three pick for the team. With just a 0.5 percent chance of winning the lottery and a 1.9 percent chance of getting anything other than the 14th pick, the Thunder will indeed pick 14th in the upcoming draft.

"I think this particular draft has a significant amount of depth," Presti said. "I think it's pretty equally distributed, and as the days turn into weeks and we get toward the day of the draft, I think there's going to be an increased interest in the middle of this draft in particular."

The Thunder (45-37) were unlikely lottery participants after missing the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker on the final day of the season. They had actually traded their first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire Dion Waiters in January, but had it top-18 protected.

"Our job is to try and be prepared for every scenario," Presti said of unexpectedly having the pick. "I feel really good about the work [director of college scouting] Will Dawkins and our scouting staff has done to this point. They've followed a really methodical and rigorous process to prepare for different scenarios that could get presented throughout a season."

Presti said the Thunder will leave every option open with the pick, including trading up, down or out of the draft altogether. Asked whether he's looking for an immediate-impact kind of player, Presti noted they might not be looking for a player at all.

"It would be really hard to speculate just based on what's going to happen in front of us and what kind of player could potentially be there," he said. "And that's also making the assumption that we keep the draft pick and select there, that we don't move back or use the draft choice in another way."

Presti did note that it's more likely the Thunder move down than up, though.

"I think history shows it's not an easy proposition to move up into the lottery period," he said. "When you get to the place where we're currently anchored, to penetrate into the top 10, it becomes a little more challenging."

With a ready-made, championship-level roster, the Thunder will have a unique opportunity to add some more young talent to their already impressive arsenal. However, the 14th pick doesn't carry a very strong history with it. The past 10: T.J. Warren, Shabazz Muhammad, John Henson, Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, Earl Clark, Anthony Randolph, Al Thornton, Ronnie Brewer and Rashad McCants.

The Thunder have 13 guaranteed contracts for next season already, with restricted free agents Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler likely to re-sign. That puts the Thunder at the 15-man max already, meaning to add a new draftee, something would have to give. Which is, as Presti noted, why the Thunder might be interested in moving the pick or current players on draft night.

"We feel really good about the team we're bringing back, but to transport ourselves or catapult ourselves to what the team is going to look like in early November, that's really hard to do," he said. "There's a lot of work that has to be done before that, and a lot of things that we can't necessarily predict until we confront them. All I can say is we like the hand we're playing right now."

What they're likely in search of still, though, is added backcourt depth. They have only two point guards on the roster (Westbrook and D.J. Augustin), as well as a two-way shooting guard. The Thunder have young players Waiters, Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb and last year's first-round pick Josh Huestis available, but none have taken control of the position.

At the draft combine in Chicago last week, the Thunder were said to be interested most in interviewing backcourt players. Some potential fits could be Arizona's Stanley Johnson, Georgia State's R.J. Hunter, Kentucky's Devin Booker, Notre Dame's Jerian Grant and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker.

"I think we'll probably have to look at how to add the most value to the organization with the draft pick," Presti said. "And that could come a lot of different ways, and I wouldn't limit ourselves from a positional standpoint. We not only look at the positions, but we look at skill sets, we look at complementary attributes with regard to our entire team and combinations of lineups that might be able to used together. I think it'll be an exercise for us to determine what those attributes are, but I certainly wouldn't limit us to any specific position."