When you’re looking to land a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the best way to do it is to focus on the biggest things: winning, advancing, and making a deep run in the league.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been around for over two decades and haven’t missed a postseason in franchise history.
They have the third-highest payroll in the National Basketball Association behind only the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, according to Basketball Reference.
With a new ownership group led by former Oklahoma City President Rod Thorn, the Thunder are set to begin their rebuild and they’ll be able to use the assets they have to pursue their goal of a winning team in the next few years.
While the Thunder currently sit with the sixth pick in this year’s NBA Draft (over the Philadelphia 76ers), the team has made it clear that it wants to make a big splash this year.
They’ve already started to make moves that will be a big deal in the coming years.
One of those moves will be signing point guard Lonzo Ball to a max contract worth more than $200 million.
Ball is coming off of a season that saw him win the Rookie of the Year award, finish in the top five in the voting for the Most Improved Player, and lead the NBA in scoring.
He’s also been named to the All-NBA First Team twice and is a two-time All-Defensive Team selection.
Ball’s success will definitely have an impact on the Thunder as they enter the 2019-2020 season.
Oklahoma City has the second-highest record in the East, behind only New York, which is expected to be the defending champs.
The Thunder also have the No. 3 pick in next year’s draft, but there are a few concerns about their position at No. 2.
First and foremost, the organization has to figure out who they want to win this year, as Oklahoma City is currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
The team currently sits on the brink of a playoff spot, but they’ll likely be in the driver’s seat in the playoffs once the playoffs begin.
With that in mind, the team will likely make a move this summer to find a replacement for Kevin Durant.
The Warriors already have a superstar in Stephen Curry who has been the heart of their offense this season.
With Ball and Curry on the roster, the Warriors will likely have a better chance to win the East.
With Durant off the roster and Ball having the opportunity to win MVP at the same time, Oklahoma City will be in a position to make an impressive push.
However, the future of the Thunder is still uncertain.
The other concern is that they could end up with too much cap space this summer.
They’re projected to have a cap space of $84 million this season, which could make them a cap-strapped team if they end up having to pay some of that to their core players.
That could put a damper on their chances of landing a star player in the future.
The Thunder will have a ton of money coming off the books and they won’t be able have as much as a max player in 2019-20.
That means they’ll need to look elsewhere for help at point guard, shooting guard, and power forward.
The Oklahoma Pelicans will be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference next season, and that could lead to some significant cap space moves.
The Pelicans are expected to have the sixth-most cap space next season.
Their $62 million salary cap is projected to be roughly $40 million over the next two years, which would give them about $25 million in space to spend.
The Pelicans will also have a lot of cap room coming off their $32 million payroll, which means they could be able pay out a lot to some of their free agents.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Pelicans is who they’ll bring in to fill the void left by the departure of Anthony Davis.
Davis had a terrific season for the Pelicans, leading them to a franchise-record 20-win season and an NBA-best 51 wins.
But the team was able to come in under the cap for the first time in franchise History.
In 2019-30, the Pelicans projected $55 million in cap space, but it actually went over $65 million.
With the upcoming cap crunch, the new cap figure will be around $70 million.
If the Pelicans are able to add some free agents and free up space, the next question will be who to target in the draft.
With some of the best point guards in the entire draft, the pick they’ll target will have to be a point guard.
The New York Knicks have the first-overall pick in 2019, and the team is expected be one of the favorites to land the top pick.
New York currently has $84.7 million in salary cap space.
The biggest concern with the Knicks is that the team’s projected cap space could be $45 million over their projected cap for