The Oklahoma City Thunder exited the 2022 NBA Draft with three (3) lottery picks. Thunder general manager Sam Presti entered the NBA draft Thursday with three total picks, 2, 12 and 34. Shortly after the night started, the OKC traded Thunder for a third lottery pick. Presti mailed three future first-round picks to Ousmane Dieng after picking Chet Holmgren with the second pick overall and still owning the 12th pick overall. The Thunder was put back on the clock to get Jalen Williams out of University of Santa Clara.
Williams becomes the highest NBA draft pick in school history and the first since Hall of Famer point guard Steve Nash.
Jalen Williams was picked 12th by OKC Thunder, the team walks away with three lottery picks in the 2022 NBA draft
The Oklahoma City Thunder picked Jalen Williams in the lottery in large part based on how Williams completed the draft cycle. The Santa Clara product was a climber in the NBA Draft Combine thanks to his interviewing skills, moderation and dominance in the scrimmage portion of the Chicago event.
Jalen Williams was a late bloomer but shot 40 percent from long range last season with 18 points per game, four assists and one steal per contest. The 21-year-old, 6’6 perimeter player thrives on catching and shooting, and hits at a 48 percent clip in those situations.
Williams sometimes struggles to get around the can and his ball handling on teams leaves him open to turnovers, but overall there aren’t many mistakes in his game. As a senior collegiate player, Jalen Williams is poised to make an immediate positive impact in the NBA.
While there can be questions about how his defense will translate in the NBA when elite teams look for mismatches in the pick and roll, his motor skills and effort level can’t be questioned. It’s easy to call him a top-flight defenseman considering he’ll be receiving plenty of training from OKC Thunder’s assistant coach Kam Woods, who helped build a top-15 defense during the 2021-22 NBA season to develop for the Thunder.