The Oklahoma City Thunder selected UT Arlington forward Kevin Hervey with the 57th pick, adding an intriguing prospect to its frontcourt mix. The Mavericks star has been on the NBA radar since a breakout sophomore campaign, and cemented his place in the draft after a solid combine in May.
Hervey’s upside is tied to his 7-foot-4 wingspan and versatility, making him an ideal fit in the modern NBA. Whether the Thunder ultimately see him as a stretch four or three-and-D player, Hervey will need to prove he can consistently space the floor for Russell Westbrook. He converted just 31.5 percent of his 612 career three-point attempts, but does have a fluid shot and is coming off his best three-point shooting season (33.9%).
The former UTA star should also be able to pitch in on the boards for a team that ranked fifth in rebounding last season. Hervey was tremendous on the glass over his college career, posting the 13th-best defensive rebounding rate in the country as a junior (27.8%). That number fell his senior year (20.1%), but his long arms and athleticism should ensure he can contribute on the glass.
While playing in the Sun Belt may give the Thunder concerns over the level of competition he saw on a regular basis, Hervey did have success against high major talent. He scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds and went four-for-five from three in a loss to an athletic and NCAA Tournament-bound Alabama team last season. The year before, he went for 18 points and 10 rebounds against future first-round big man Jarrett Allen in a win over Texas.
Hervey was receiving at least some first round buzz and was named as the combine’s most intriguing prospect by the Ringer. If all goes right, the Thunder are likely hoping that Hervey turns into a player like DeMarre Carroll: a defensive contributor that can guard three’s and four’s that develops into a solid three-point threat.
The Thunder will hope that Hervey is that kind of second round steal in their search for floor-spacing role players to surround their franchise icon.