Mitch McGary was drafted 21st by the Oklahoma City Thunder. How will the former Michigan forward fit in the OKC frontcourt?
The Thunder's front court is a little crowded at first glance. Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison all get regular minutes. But on closer inspection, there are some holes that will be filled by McGary.
Nick Collison will turn 34 this year, and he's coming of offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.
Statistically, Perkins is one of the worst starting centers in the league and Scott Brooks sees it too- Steven Adams' minutes increased all season, with him averaging 22 minutes off the bench during the Western Conference Finals. Kendrick Perkins is the 4th highest paid player on the team, set to make $9.6 million next season. Steven Adams' development and Kendrick Perkins declining level of play/high salary make Perkins expendable through amnesty or otherwise.
In slides McGary.
With Collison and Perkins swinging in the wind, there's a great chance for the 6'10 McGary to establish himself in the rotation patrolling the paint. McGary's skill set is different than what either of those guys, with his speed and energy. All the typical buzzwords fit perfectly for McGary- he's aggressive with a high motor, and he's involved in every available loose ball and rebound. Collison and Perkins are too old and too slow to match what McGary brings to the table. McGary is a better option than either.
The Thunder are aggressively seeking Pau Gasol in free agency, according to various reports. A scenario where Gasol (7'0) and Ibaka (6'10) are the starting frontcourt with McGary (6'10) and Adams (7'0) off the bench would be nightmarish for opposing teams. They would be young, big, and cheap (excluding Gasol).
The biggest question is McGary's health, after his back injury kept him from playing most of his sophomore year. For Oklahoma City to take him in the first round, his prognosis must be good.
McGary, if healthy, is going to fit in fine with this Thunder team. He adds a dimension Oklahoma City doesn't have, even with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.