How the Thunder almost took Brook Lopez over Russell Westbrook

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those "wudda cudda shudda" moments that fans either love or hate: a granular discussion of a decision their team (or another team) made that wudda or cudda or shudda changed the team's destiny ... Like when Ed Stefanski begged Rod Thorn to take Michael Redd over Soumalia Samaki or when the Nets couldn't find the money to move up in the second round to take Monta Ellis and settled for Mile Ilic.

Ben Alamar, the Thunder's former analytics guy, tells Grantland's Zach Lowe how in the 2008 Draft there was a debate over who OKC should take with the fourth pick: UCLA guard Russell Westbrook or Stanford center Brook Lopez. Alamar, using analytics, argued strenuously for Westbrook, convinced Westbrook despite his limited time at the point in college could play the position in the NBA. He doesn't diss Lopez, calling him a very good player.

Lopez of course fell to 10th after Charlotte famously changed their mind at the last minute and went with D.J. Augustine. Would Westbrook had fallen to the Nets. Highly unlikely, but Nets fans should feel comforted by Michael Jordan's decision. If the Bobcats had taken Lopez, the Nets would have gone with Jerryd Bayless. That wudda been a disaster.

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