Thunder's Potential Draft Picks: Shabazz Muhammad, Kentavious Ca - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Thunder's Potential Draft Picks: Shabazz Muhammad, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

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Shabazz Muhammad

Shooting Guard

Freshman, UCLA

20 years old

Play style comparisons: Wilson Chandler, Joe Johnson.

Strengths:

Muhammad is listed at 6-foot-6 but has a whopping 6-foot-11 wingspan. He's a strong, physical and shifty wing that can knock down open jumpers or work his way closer to the hoop and score. He's not an athletic freak but knows how to score, kind of like Paul Pierce. Muhammad plays the game with a high basketball IQ and doesn't pout if he doesn't get the ball. These are traits that would serve him well playing on a team with established stars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Weaknesses:

At UCLA, the offense pretty much ran through him. He was their best player and best shooter. Because of that, he didn't develop much of a passing game. This isn't to say he can't or isn't willing to pass, but it will be something he'll have to work on to immediately jump into an NBA rotation.

How he can help OKC:

He has a lot of the same qualities James Harden provided the Thunder. He may not have the raw explosiveness of Harden, but has that same fearless mentality. Assuming they don't re-sign Kevin Martin, the Thunder will be in the market for bench scoring. Muhammad would team with Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb to provide the offensive spark for OKC's second unit.

 

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Shooting Guard

Sophomore, Georgia

20 years old

Play style comparisons:  J.R. Smith, Jamal Crawford

Strengths:

Caldwell-Pope is a fast, athletic 6-foot-6 wing with plenty of talent and plenty of room for improvement. Let's start with the positives.  In the open court, he has Vince Carter-like moments.  He can elevate to levels most players can't and make it look easy.  When not dunking on the break, Caldwell-Pope likes to launch – a lot.  He attempted seven 3-pointers per game last season at UGA, and hot or cold, he'll keep trying.  The good news is, he can get hot and start hitting deep shots with a high degree of difficulty (think J.R. Smith.) Defensively, his speed and athleticism allow him to get into passing lanes and wreak havoc.    

Weaknesses:

To put it simply: decision making.  Caldwell-Pope has a tremendous level of talent but his basketball IQ is almost nonexistent.  He must grasp a better understanding of score/clock situations, when to shoot, when to pass and when to push/slow down.  He has an assassin's mentality, which can help in some cases and hurt in others.  For instance, if OKC drafts him, you don't want him shooting the ball every time he touches it, in turn taking shots away from the likes of Westbrook and Durant.  Caldwell-Pope can really hoop, but he needs to learn a little more about how to play basketball.   

How he could help OKC:

His energy and offense could provide a spark off the bench, but I'm not sure OKC doesn't already have this guy on the roster.  Jeremy Lamb has a very similar game and makes fewer boneheaded plays, not to mention he's been in the system a year.  The Thunder needs a guy that can fill a need, and Caldwell-Pope isn't that guy.    

 

Be sure to tune in Thursday at 10 p.m. to see a unique side of Kendrick Perkins as he sits down for an exclusive interview with our Amanda Taylor. 

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