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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-07-02

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-07-02

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-07-02
The Thunder exited the draft with a solid haul, snagging a probable starter in Arizona State shooting guard James Harden third overall and a project at center in Ohio State 7-footer B.J. Mullens late in the first round.

At 6-foot-5, Harden should blend in quickly with the talented young nucleus of small forward Kevin Durant, point guard Russell Westbrook and power forward Jeff Green. The Pac-10 player of the year was considered one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft.

"They have a great young core over there, Russell and Kevin, a few other players," Harden said. "I have to go in there with the mindset of having to work to earn a position on the team."

Harden led the Pac-10 in scoring as a sophomore at 20.1 points, while also averaging 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 steals. In addition to his all-around game, Harden was lauded for a basketball I.Q. and decision-making skills.

Harden should fit in nicely in the backcourt with Westbrook and compliment Durant as another potentially high-scoring wing. Harden's defensive strengths were also an easy sell for a team that's stressed improvement at that end since the end of the season.

OKC did pass on Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, who many listed as the second-best prospect behind No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin. Selecting Rubio, however, could have led to a troublesome situation with Westbrook.

The Thunder acquired Mullens in a trade with Dallas, which selected the freshman at No. 24. OKC followed the Mavericks at No. 25 and picked French point guard Rodrigue Beaubois. The teams then swapped players, with OKC also sending a future second-round pick to Dallas.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 2, 2009


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