With the 14th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft . . . the Oklahoma City Thunder select Trey Lyles from the University of Kentucky. Lyles isn't the best Kentucky player still on the board, that could probably be Devin Booker, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are absolutely in a different state of mind. Their best player, Kevin Durant, needs to be shown that the Thunder are trying to win now. The free agent aspirant has been linked to so many teams after his deal is up, and OKC has to pry open their championship window somehow. Going for best player available does not do that as the best player available is usually a high potential guy. I don't think Trey is that guy. What he is is a physically large human being with a pulse - and OKC really needs that. I don't think they want to go out and actually re-sign Enes Kanter. I know I wouldn't. The Western Conference contending Thunder are rock solid at point guard with Russel Westbrook and D.J. Augustin on the books. They have a billion wings in Durant, Dion Waiters, Anthony Morrow, Jeremy Lamb, and Andre Roberson. I wouldn't call that a championship level wing group, but they can make do. If/when Kanter leaves they will be left with Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison inside. Sure, Steve Novak and Mitch McGary are on the books to come back next year too as stretch big benchwarmers . . . but if they are going to brave the gauntlet of the Western Conference playoffs what they need is an impact big. Lyles isn't that, but he comes from a strong NCAA program and essentially do that Enes does, but on a rookie scale contract. I'm not crazy about this pick, and neither should Kevin Durant. Alternatives at this point would be Devin Booker, Sam Dekker, Bobby Portis, and Jerian Grant - but all have their own warts as well. Dekker, for one, plays the same position as Durant does. It's not a perfect spot for OKC to draft from, they may be better off just moving this pick after the lottery.
And yes, I think if OKC keeps this pick they go for need rather than best player available.