OKC Thunder Could Trade Up From No. 12 Pick

NBA Analysis Network

One of the biggest winners of the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery was the Oklahoma City Thunder. After ending the 2021-22 season with the fourth-worst record in the league, they took a leap up as they will pick second overall.

Armed with No. 12 overall, the Thunder are in a great position via the LA Clippers to add two more high-upside players to their roster to continue their rebuild. But they could try to move up the draft committee if the opportunity arises.

Over at Sports Illustrated, Jeremy Woo recently put together a mock draft. He has the thunder picking Paolo Banchero out of Duke with the second overall pick. That’s not too surprising since Banchero is one of the consensus top three along with Jabari Smith Jr. of Auburn and Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga.

There were some rumors that Oklahoma City might be looking at Purdue’s Jaden Ivey with the second pick overall, but Woo let them go with Banchero. Things get interesting in his blurb for the 10th pick though.

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AJ Griffin, Banchero’s teammate at Duke, is the wrong choice. However, Woo shares that if the Oklahoma City Thunder have their way, that pick will be flipped as part of a package to move into the top 10.

“There is some speculation in the league that the Thunder might try to combine this pick with some of their other draft picks to try to move up and earn a second top-10 pick.”

We’re used to Oklahoma City taking steps to acquire draft picks, but this would be a case where they parted with selections instead. It’s certainly interesting because the teams rumored to be out of the top 10 are looking for established players to make a playoff push.

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The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have many players who would fit that bill unless they buy Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who would be wanted by virtually every team in the NBA. Instead, they can put together a bundle centered around their war chest of draft picks. Even if it cost two or three to move up, it wouldn’t detract from the stash Oklahoma City has been building over the past few years.

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