John Hoover

John E. Hoover: Here’s a look at what Sam Presti and the Thunder are up against tonight

John E. Hoover: Here’s a look at what Sam Presti and the Thunder are up against tonight

Oklahoma City Thunder general manger Sam Presti answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Thunder fans should not have high expectations for their team in the 2018 NBA Draft.

As the two rounds of the draft unfold tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Oklahoma City has two second-round picks — No. 53 and No. 57 overall.

History suggests, emphatically, that the Thunder won’t select anyone who makes an impact in the NBA or even sticks on an NBA roster.

Don’t misunderstand. There have been good players unearthed late in the draft. Manu Ginobili went 56th to San Antonio in 1999. Luis Scola went 56th overall to San Antonio in 2002. Marcin Gortat went 57th to Phoenix in 2005. Goran Dragic went 45th to San Antonio in 2008.

Yes, three of those players were drafted by San Antonio, where Thunder GM Sam Presti worked for the Spurs from 2000-2007. Presti was only involved with drafting one of them, but clearly he learned the model for evaluating late-round talent.

Still, it’s a significant challenge to find even moderately enduring talent that late in the draft.

Of the 20 players drafted in the 53 and 57 spots over the last 10 drafts, only two — DeAndre Liggins and Nando de Colo — have played more than 18 career games, according to (Kadeem Allen played 18 games as a rookie for the Celtics last season.) Liggins, a former Thunder backup out of Kentucky, has played in 177 games since 2011. De Colo, who came to the NBA from France, played in 119 games from 2012-14.

While some have made a roster and even suited up, fifteen of the 20 have never even played in an NBA game.

Maybe Presti goes back to his Spurs roots and finds that unknown international who becomes a solid NBA player. Or maybe packages the two picks and trades up (given the history of the 53rd and 57th picks, who would take that trade?).

What’s more likely is that Presti selects two players you don’t know who never make it into a Thunder uniform — or onto an NBA roster.


NBA Draft picks 53 & 57, last 10 years

  • 2017: Kadeem Allen, Arizona (18 games); Alexander Vazenkov, Spain
  • 2016: Petr Cornelie, France; Wang Zhelin, Japan
  • 2015: Sir Dominic Pointer, St. John’s; Nikola Radicevic, Spain
  • 2014: Alessandro Gentile, Italy; Louis Labeyrie, France
  • 2013: Colton Iverson, Colorado State; Alex Oriakhi, Mizzou
  • 2012: Furkhan Aldamir, Turkey; Ilkan Karaman, Turkey
  • 2011: DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky (177 games); Tanguy Ngombo, Qatar
  • 2010: Pape Sy, France (3 games); Ryan Reid, FSU (5 games)
  • 2009: Nando de Colo, France (119 games); Emir Preldzic, Turkey
  • 2008: Tadija Dragecevic, Serbia; James Gist, Maryland


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

More in John Hoover

John E. Hoover: College football is so much better with Oklahoma-Georgia on the schedule

John E. HooverMay 6, 2019

John E. Hoover: With NFL Draft, Bill Bedenbaugh’s masterpiece is complete … now he needs an encore

John E. HooverApril 27, 2019

John E. Hoover: From Kyler to Hollywood, GMs & coaches describe how two Sooners landed in the first round

John E. HooverApril 26, 2019

John E. Hoover: Kyler Murray gives Sooners another No. 1 overall pick … here’s why his partnership with Kliff Kingsbury will work

John E. HooverApril 25, 2019

John E. Hoover: Sooners fans, are you ready for some Sunday Night Football?

John E. HooverApril 25, 2019

The Franchise