The 2022 NBA Draft was one of the most interesting of the past few years. Following a late shakeup with the top pick, Paolo Banchero went to the Orlando Magic.
With Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren being the best players available on the board for the Oklahoma City Thunder, GM Sam Presti elected to go with Holmgren.
The 7-footer has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in this class, providing a ton of upside on both sides of the ball. Not only is he able to bring the ball up the court and operate on the perimeter offensively, but he’s also a defensive stopper.
In his lone college season at Gonzaga, the 20-year-old shot 41.2% from beyond the arc including the postseason. Additionally, he blocked an outstanding 3.6 shots per contest.
Holmgren does have a thin frame at 195 pounds, which is the main concern for the young prospect. If he’s able to put on size and strength, the sky is the limit for the Thunder’s newest centerpiece.
Alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, Holmgren has the talent to ultimately become the best player in Oklahoma City at some point.
From there, there was speculation that the Thunder could look to move up from No. 12 overall to grab a higher pick. After the New York Knicks selected Ousmane Dieng with the No. 11 pick, Oklahoma City was on the clock.
At that point, the Thunder traded multiple future first-round picks to obtain the draft rights to Dieng. A 6-foot-10 forward, this was a move to double down on length and versatility.
Playing in the NBL last season, Dieng averaged 7.0 points, and 2.9 rebounds per contest. He had a very slow start to the season, but finished the season extremely strong.
Presti worked the French forward out and then traded future draft capital to acquire Dieng. This is exactly why the Thunder have been stashing a haul of picks.
Keeping the No. 12 pick, which was Oklahoma City’s third lottery selection, Jalen Williams was taken off the board. A prospect that had risen quickly up draft boards over the past month, he was one of the most improved players in all of college basketball last season.
As a junior at Santa Clara, Williams averaged 18.0 points and 4.2 boards per game while shooting 39.6% from beyond the arc. He boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan as a versatile wing that could be a huge piece for the Thunder moving forward.
In what was a wild draft for Oklahoma City, they came away with three lottery picks that all have a chance to contribute in their rookie seasons. The Thunder’s rebuild took a huge step in the right direction during the 2022 NBA Draft.