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Jenni Carlson's take

→Who the Thunder should take: Everyone is saying that if the Thunder draft Ricky Rubio, it's only taking the Spanish point guard to trade him.

Here's an alternative: draft him and keep him.

Sure, he's young and has a massive buyout on his current European contract. So what? He would create easier shots for Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook, and what this team needs more than anything is more easy shots. That makes a huge difference. That wins ball games.

Rubio could help the Thunder win more games, maybe lots more. There's no better reason to draft him.

→Who the Thunder will take: This must be a trick question. The only one who knows who the Thunder will draft is Sam Presti, and he isn't saying.

He's more guarded than Fort Knox.

I'm not even sure I buy this stuff about the team hiring a Spanish law firm to help buy out Rubio's contract. Information like that doesn't leak out of Thunder World Headquarters unless someone wants it out. Scuttlebutt like that creates a nice smokescreen, though.

So, who will the Thunder take? I'm going with Hasheem Thabeet. He's the one top-shelf guy that we haven't heard anything about from the Thunder . Considering his defensive mentality, his inside presence and the fact that he wouldn't take shots away from Kevin Durant, Jeff Green or Russell Westbrook, he is a prospect who should've created buzz.

That Thabeet hasn't, is as good a reason as any to think the Thunder will draft him.

Berry Tramel's take

→Who the Thunder should take: The Thunder should draft Ricky Rubio, if the Spaniard is available. The reasons are simple.

1. Teams that are building should be oblivious to positions. OKC doesn't really need a point guard, but Russell Westbrook could be a classic combo guard. So draft the best player available. That looks to be Rubio.

2. Draft for offense, sign for defense. You overpay for offense in free agency. So get your offense through the draft. Rubio figures to be the best offensive player available.

3. Rubio is only 18 and won't be NBA-ready immediately. But the Thunder has plenty of time to wait while Rubio and the team develops.

→Who the Thunder will take: We saw last year that you can't rule out a stealth candidate; no one saw Russell Westbrook going No. 4.

But after all the mock drafts and rumors have been lain quiet by the start of the draft, the best bet is that the Thunder simply will take whoever's left between Hasheem Thabeet or Ricky Rubio. If Thabeet goes No. 2, the Thunder takes Rubio. If Rubio goes No. 2 (via trade), the Thunder takes Thabeet.

On the off chance that neither Thabeet or Rubio goes No. 2, look for OKC to grab Rubio, for the reasons stated above.

John Rohde's take

→Who the Thunder should take: Blake Griffin, but not even Thunder general manager Sam Presti is that good. My thoughts on what the Thunder should do tonight have not changed since the lottery was held May 19. Take whoever is available with the No. 3 overall pick - center Hasheem Thabeet or point guard Ricky Rubio - then trade down while acquiring an extra draft pick and/or a proven player. Many possibilities have emerged in the last 48 hours because of various trades, but the Thunder's premise should not have changed.

→Who the Thunder will take: James Harden or Stephen Curry and Chase Budinger. Who knows, maybe Presti is good enough to get all three and then trade one away. As previously stated, the Thunder should select Thabeet or Rubio, then work a deal with whoever drafts Curry. Possessing the rights to Rubio offers more trade clout than Thabeet. But, hey, whatever works. If Budinger is available at No. 25, nab him. If he's available at No. 15, nab him. Given what the Thunder requires, Budinger is the next best thing to a lottery pick.

Mike Baldwin's take

→Who the Thunder should take: Tyreke Evans if they don't move down. If Minnesota offers the No. 5 and 18 picks for the No. 3 selection, take the deal and select James Harden at No. 5, DeJuan Blair at No. 14 and Eric Maynor at No. 18.

Evans could end up being the best player in the draft. If you get Harden at No. 5 he would fill the shooting guard void. Blair would be a steal, providing a much needed physical inside presence. Maynor could serve as Westbrook's backup for five-plus years.

→Who the Thunder will take: Harden (outside shot Stephen Curry). If they trade with Phoenix for the No. 14 pick, they'll take B.J. Mullens and use their last pick (No. 18 or No. 25) on Amri Casspi and stash him overseas for one year.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 27, 2009


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