NBA Draft Lottery has OKC Thunder fans on edge but not players


Thunder guard Josh Giddey hasn’t given much thought to the NBA Draft Lottery. 

“I know a little bit about it,” Giddey said, “but not too much.”

Same goes for Thunder forward Darius Bazley. 

“I might see lottery stuff if I’m scrolling on Instagram and Slam,” Bazley said, “or somebody posts these guys have top picks or whatever, but I don’t really pay close attention to that.” 

The May 17 NBA Draft Lottery is two weeks away, and while anxiety among Thunder fans seems to be rising by the day, Thunder players were relatively apathetic when asked about the lottery in their exit interviews. 

More:Five things you might have forgotten about 2021-22 Thunder season and what they could mean for OKC’s future

Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort, left, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, center, and Darius Bazley sit on the bench during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, March 29, 2021. Dallas won 127-106.

Unlike obsessive fans, players don’t waste their time running Tankathon simulations, hoping to see the Thunder logo appear next to Chet Holmgren’s name. 

“I don’t really care,” Bazley said. “I’ll be happy for whoever gets drafted, but when I say I don’t care, it’s like, I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”

The Thunder is holding two tickets entering the lottery — one more likely to hit than the other. The Thunder’s pick via the Clippers is likely to land at No. 12, while OKC’s own pick has a 12.5% chance to win the lottery and a better than 50% chance to land in the top five. It can fall no lower than eighth. 

“The top-five (players) are obviously pretty locked in,” said Giddey, although that’s debatable. “Everyone knows who they’re going to be. But yeah, there’s a few in that category I’d love to play with, but whoever we get we’ll integrate them into the team and be ready to move forward.” 

Giddey didn’t divulge any names on his own, but he confirmed fellow Aussie guard Dyson Daniels is one of them. 

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Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander says he'll watch highlights on top draft prospects whenever he's bored.

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said he’ll watch highlights of prospects in the Thunder’s draft range. 

“Just when I’m bored I’ll look at stuff like that,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But I think as you can see, our (front office) does a great job of that. All of our rookies were amazing this year, gave great minutes and I’m excited about that.” 

Giddey, the Thunder’s highest draft pick (No. 6) since James Harden (No. 3), was a four-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month. Rookie guard Tre Mann showed exciting flashes as a No. 18 pick, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins were solid for second-rounders. 

The Thunder has four more draft picks this summer, all in the top 34. 

Exactly where OKC’s first two picks will land? It’s all up to the ping-pong balls. 

More:Why OKC Thunder players are owed big bonus check due to NBA salary cap oddity

NBA Draft key dates

COMBINE: May 16-22 in Chicago

LOTTERY: May 17 in Chicago

DRAFT: June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.



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Matt Lucas

Writer by day and an aspiring Artist by night. Creative thinking is what I'm all about. Lottos are one of my passions and I'm happy to be contributing to Lottery Papa News

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