Chad Ford’s latest mock draft is out at ESPN, just three days before the 2012 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, and the Oklahoma City Thunder can now fully concentrate on roster development and additions after losing the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. In his latest mock, the Thunder add some international flavor with the addition of France’s Evan Fournier.
Ford writes, "Fournier is the type of player that the Thunder can easily stash for a year or two in Europe. Or, given the high level he has played at in France, he might be able to come in and get minutes for them right away — especially if the Thunder decide they can’t afford to re-sign James Harden this summer."
That last line is a bit of an overstatement to expect a European import to immediately contribute at the level of the third star on an NBA Finals roster. The Thunder might be able to supplement some of his scoring and presence in the backcourt, but to count on an unknown international player to replace a player who was pivotal so many times for the Thunder is a definite stretch.
If the Thunder are to replace Harden, his replacement will also likely come from any trade return and potentially Fournier as a supplement.