With the 21st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Oklahoma native Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson skipped out on college and decided to spend one year playing professionally in Australia and put up some pretty mediocre stats. But there is a lot of untapped potential in Ferguson that can help the Thunder in the future.
The 2017 NBA Draft was critical for the Oklahoma City Thunder to help bolster the bench with some immediate talent to push the team beyond the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. When it came their time to pick at 21 they had a myriad of players available including Semi Ojeleye, Frank Jackson, OG Anouby, and even Derrick White:
But ultimately the Thunder ended up selecting Terrance Ferguson, a polarizing 6'7" shooting guard who played one season professionally with the Adelaide 36ers.
Originally a commit to Arizona, Ferguson skipped out on college and decided to go pro and head to the Adelaide 36ers of Australia's National Basketball League where he ended up averaging 4.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.6 assists while shooting 38.1% from the floor. While these stats are not the greatest, before Ferguson skipped college to go pro he was an outstanding high school recruit.
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ferguson moved to Dallas, Texas to join the controversial Prime Prep Academy that eventually closed due to allegations of theft and mishandling of funds. He then transferred to Advanced Preparatory International and by his senior year he was ranked #11 overall in ESPN's Top 100 for the Class of 2016; he was also a McDonald's All-American his senior year as well.
Besides a solid high school career, Ferguson has a few accolades from his days playing for the United States Junior National Select Team. He helped team USA beat the World Team at the Moda Center on April 9, 2016, by scoring 21 points, all on three-point attempts. This outburst from Ferguson was the most three-pointers scored in Nike Hoop Summit history and subsequently, his performance earned him MVP honors.
For Oklahoma City, they selected a prospect who has potential to be a prototypical "3 and D" player for the team. While only shooting 31.3% from beyond the arc in his lone year with the Adelaide 36ers, Ferguson's height at 6'7" will allow him to get above most defenders which will help him get his shots. With time he could become a solid three-point shooter for Oklahoma City. Besides his perimeter scoring, Ferguson also shows potential with his athleticism and ability to attack the rim. The flaw from Ferguson's game comes that he has a relatively short wingspan at 6'9" and is light, weighing only 184 pounds. This translates that it will take him time to learn to defend an NBA two guard properly and will eventually learn to settle into his position. Ferguson will spend a lot of time developing in limited minutes off the bench or with the Oklahoma City Blue.
Overall, this draft selection makes sense for the future for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They selected a player with a lot of untapped potential in Ferguson and the Oklahoma native should grow over time into a solid NBA player. But, with players like Derrick White (went #29 to San Antonio), Josh Hart (#30 to the Los Angeles Lakers), Frank Jackson (#31 to New Orleans) and Semi Ojeleye (#37 to Boston) all still on the board and totally reasonable picks that could immediately contribute to Oklahoma City, the Ferguson pick feels a little lukewarm. In time he will be a solid, if not great player for Oklahoma City. But for now he will not be able to immediately contribute and the lack of a backup point guard behind Russell Westbrook still hurts the team.
Overall Grade: C+