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June 27, 2013

Multiple picks give Thunder plethora of possibilities for today’s draft

NORMAN — It’s not often a team that was fighting for the best record in the NBA is expected to be busy on draft night. Most competitive squads have one pick late in the first round, if any selections at all.

That is not the case for Oklahoma City, which had the second best record in the league and topped the Western Conference during the regular season with 60 wins. It finds itself holding three of the top 32 picks in tonight’s NBA draft.

With the No. 12, 29 and 32 spots, no team has more prime selections on their plate. The Thunder can go just about any direction they want to take.

“It is a time of year that every team is given an opportunity of some variety to improve based on their current circumstances and strategic outlook,” Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said in a release. “This off-season, we’re going to look at everything we can to try to improve. But we also need to take into consideration our parameters and consider the short-term and long-term impact as we make decisions going forward, but that’s been no different than we have any other season.”

Yet, the Thunder do not have many glaring weaknesses they need to address. Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb are expected to make contributions next season after spending their rookie seasons in the Development League with the Tulsa 66ers. And with Reggie Jackson seemingly locking down the backup point guard duties after Russell Westbrook went down in the playoffs, what was already a deep team will be even deeper, even if shooting guard Kevin Martin does not re-sign with the squad.

Yet, there’s one need many analysts believe Oklahoma City has to fill and that’s a big man in the middle who can score. Kendrick Perkins’ ineffectiveness in the paint in the postseason had fans calling for the Thunder to get rid of the veteran.

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