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NBA Mock Draft 2012: Thunder Linked With Syracuse C Fab Melo

While the attention of most Oklahoma City Thunder fans is on the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder front office doesn't have the luxury of ignoring the upcoming draft, even though they only have the No. 28 overall pick.

For a small-market team that has already signed Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to max salaries, finding cost-controlled players is a necessity, especially since the luxury tax penalties in the new CBA will make it extremely difficult for Oklahoma City to be a player in free agency going forward.

The latest mock draft from Draft Express has the Thunder going for a big man, in this case Syracuse C Fab Melo.

The 7'0 275 Melo is certainly far from a finished product, but he has a much better combination of size and athleticism than current third-string C Cole Aldrich and he could conceivably develop into a player who could replace Kendrick Perkins as a low-post defender.

He averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks on 56% shooting for the Orange last season.

For more coverage of the Thunder and the NBA draft, check out SB Nation Kansas City as well as Welcome To Loud City.