Los Angeles Lakers: Jimmer Fredette

Pre-Draft status updates: Northwest Division

June, 20, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
The 2011 NBA Draft is Thursday afternoon (4 pm PT, ESPN). We've spent scads of time taking stock of where the Lakers stand heading into draft day, and now aim to catch up on the rest of the Western Conference.

Today, the Northwest Division...

Oklahoma City Thunder

2010-11: 55-27, lost Western Conference Finals 4-1 to Dallas

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images
The Thunder are set to be a major obstacle in L.A.'s effort to reclaim the Western Conference.

Picks: 24, Round 1.

Where They Stand: Tall. After losing to the Lakers in the first round of last year's playoffs, the Thunder reached the Western Conference Finals this year, eliminated by Dallas in a series tighter than the five-game result suggests. The Thunder, they know they've lost only to the best, and looking towards next year remain the Western Conference franchise with the highest amount of upside. While there is some early speculation about the future of Russell Westbrook in OKC, he's under their control for two more seasons, meaning the core of Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka is locked in, with role players like Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison sewn up as well.

Really, the only question they have from a roster standpoint revolves around 3-point specialist Daequan Cook.

They don't need much, but if the WCF proved anything, the Thunder need another guy to facilitate the offense. As brilliant a young player as Westbrook is, Harden proved himself easily their best facilitator of the halfcourt offense. In those moments he couldn't play (after fouling out in Game 4 against the Mavs, for example), OKC suffered greatly. Westbrook should/must improve as a wheel-greaser, but adding another guy fitting the profile won't hurt.

Andy and Brian talk with David Thorpe (ESPN.com's Scout's Inc.) about what the Lakers can do in the second round of the draft. Plus, a look at the hot rumor (Pau for Kevin Love/#2 pick) and the vocal stylings of Dirk Nowitzki
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OKC could use a little more shooting, as well.

Projections: Chad Ford, ESPN.com (Insider Required) - Nicola Mirotic (SF, Serbia). DraftExpress - Kyle Singler (SF, Duke)

Denver Nuggets

2010-11: 50-32, lost in first round to Oklahoma City, 4-1

Picks: 22, Round 1. 52, Round 2.

Where They Stand: Littered with options. Predicting exactly what the Nuggets will look like next season is like determining exactly where one of those Escher staircases ends. G.M. Masai Ujiri can go in any number of directions with his roster, depending on how he wants to use the assets gained in the Carmelo Anthony deal. Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith are free agents, Nene has an $11.6 million player option, they have a decision to make on restricted free agent Wilson Chandler, and Raymond Felton is a hot name in trade rumors. About the only thing that can be said with confidence is that Denver won't let Arron Afflalo, also a restricted free agent, get away.

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0