The Oklahoma City Thunder walked out of the 2022 NBA Draft with three (3) Lottery picks. Thunder General Manager Sam Presti entered Thursday’s NBA Draft with three selections total, 2, 12, and 34. Soon after the night started, the OKC Thunder traded for a third lottery pick. Presti shipped off three future first-round picks for Ousmane Dieng, after selecting Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick, and still possessing the 12th overall pick. The Thunder were put back on the clock to grab Jalen Williams out of the University of Santa Clara.
Williams becomes the highest NBA draft pick in school history and the first since Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash.
Jalen Williams was selected 12th by OKC Thunder, the team walks away with three lottery picks in the 2022 NBA Draft
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Jalen Williams in the Lottery in large part due to how Williams finished the draft cycle. The Santa Clara product was a riser at the NBA Draft combine thanks to his interview skills, measurement, and dominating the scrimmage portion of the event in Chicago.
Jalen Williams was a late-bloomer but shot 40 percent from distance on 18 points per game, four assists, and a steal per contest last season. The 21-year-old 6’6 perimeter player thrives off the catch and shoot, hitting at a 48 percent clip in those situations.
Williams struggles at times to finish around the tin, and his ball-handling at teams leaves him open to turnovers, but overall there are not many flaws in his game. As an older college player, Jalen Williams is ready to make a positive impact right away in the NBA.
While there can be questions about how his defense will translate in the NBA as elite teams hunt mismatches in the pick-and-roll, his motor and effort level can not be questioned. It is easy to tab him as a high-upside defender when you factor in he will get a lot of training in with OKC Thunder assistant coach Kam Woods who helped engineer a top-15 defense for the Thunder during the 2021-22 NBA Season.