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#14 Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne

With the 14th pick, the Thunder selected Cameron Payne.

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With the 14th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected point guard Cameron Payne.

Fortunately this is a team that doesn’t need much to make a run next season. Let’s qualify that statement. So long as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are healthy (unlike like last season’s freak injuries, nearly across the board), the Thunder need just a couple of solid pieces. One of those pieces is a back-up point guard to help out point guard extraordinaire, All-Star Westbrook.

With D.J. Augustin about to enter his final contract year, the Thunder needed to have a plan in place, and Payne is the ticket. It’s been rumored that Thunder general manager and executive vice president Sam Presti has long had a firm eye on Payne. Maybe there was even a promise made to him as speculated. No matter – the Thunder filled a certain need in selecting Payne.

The 6’2 Payne, out of Murray State University, is offensively gifted and might be the most pure point guard in the league. Frequent comparisons to the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard should make Thunder fans – and his new teammates – excited as the Thunder look to have a much better season this upcoming year.

Payne comes to the Thunder as a natural leader with an extremely high basketball IQ. He’s a great locker room guy and has the Thunder DNA that Presti always seeks. That self-confessed chip on his shoulder should translate well. He’s hungry to succeed and prove himself at the highest level of basketball.

The lefty is an excellent passer and excellent pick-and-roll player. Last season, he averaged 20.3 points per game with 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 three-pointers. Payne can flat-out score, which is exactly what the Thunder is missing from their second unit leader. The Thunder just got better tonight.

Susan Bible covers the Oklahoma City Thunder for Basketball Insiders and writes about all NBA teams. She is a Senior Newslines Editor and contributes to fantasy basketball coverage.

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