The rumors and trade winds were swirling throughout the night on Thursday at the NBA Draft, but the Thunder’s ship was steady, awaiting its opportunity to get a player who was an ideal fit.
As it always does, the Thunder turned over every rock in the months leading up to the draft and explored every opportunity throughout the course of the night. The team stood firm, and at the number 21 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Thunder selected Terrance Ferguson, a 6-foot-7, 184-pound guard. Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti hailed Ferguson as a knockdown three-point shooter and an athletic wing defender who can cover multiple positions.
“He has speed, size, length and athleticism and an ability to shoot the ball with range,” Presti described. “He’s also a guy who has a great disposition. He’s a really pleasant kid and a kid that is excited about what is in front of him.”
While Presti and his staff’s path seemed straight and clear, Ferguson’s personal track has been unorthodox to say the least. He was born in Tulsa, Okla., but spent his high school years in Dallas, playing for Prime Prep Academy and Advanced Prep International while being home schooled. He was a 2016 McDonald’s All-American and stood out at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit and the 2014 Adidas Nations.
Instead of taking the college route, Ferguson opted to spend 2016-17, what would have been his freshman year, halfway across the world. In Australia’s NBL, the top league in the country, Ferguson played amongst and against men as a part of the Adelaide 36ers. He saw 15.2 minutes per game and scored 4.6 points on 38.1 percent shooting in his adjustment to the professional game, but the Thunder is confident in specific areas of the game where Ferguson can thrive.
Since 2013, Ferguson has represented USA Basketball in three different FIBA competitions. His teams won gold medals each time, and went 19-0 overall.
“We’re thrilled to have (Ferguson) and add him to the Thunder,” Presti said. “He’s a very refined player at his age that has the experience that he’s gained by being in different environments.”
The newest member of the Thunder will wear number 23 for his team, and will compete in Summer League in early July in Orlando.
“The first thing you need to do is let him go out and compete and play so I don’t want to put any limitations on him,” Presti explained. “He makes shots, and has great length and speed. Generally those are things that are valued in our building.”
Check back into okcthunder.com for full coverage of Ferguson’s introductory press conference and his performances at Summer League. For more on Ferguson’s unique journey to the NBA, check out this feature story from the New York Times.