The 2022 NBA Draft was one of the most interesting in recent years. After a late shake up with the top pick, Paolo Banchero left for the Orlando Magic.
With Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren being the top players available on the Oklahoma City Thunder board, GM Sam Presti chose Holmgren.
The 7-footer has perhaps the highest cap of any player in this class and offers a ton of advantages on both sides of the ball. Not only is he able to get the ball on the pitch and play offensively on the touchline, but he’s also a defensive stopper.
In his only collegiate season with Gonzaga, the 20-year-old shot 41.2% from the afterlife, including the postseason. He also blocked an amazing 3.6 shots per fight.
Holmgren has a skinny build at 195 pounds which is the main concern for the young prospect. If he’s able to grow in size and strength, the sky’s the limit for Thunder’s newest heart.
Alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, Holmgren has the potential to eventually become the best player in Oklahoma City.
From then on there was speculation that the Thunder could move up from 12th overall in order to make a higher choice. After the New York Knicks picked Ousmane Dieng with the number 11, Oklahoma City was on the clock.
At this point, the Thunder traded several future first-round picks to get the drafting rights to Dieng. As a 6ft 10 forward, this was a move to double down on length and versatility.
Dieng played in the NBL last season and averaged 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest. He had a very slow start to the season but ended the season extremely strong.
Presti worked out the French forward and then traded future draft capital to acquire Dieng. This is exactly why the Thunder have hidden a lot of picks.
Jalen Williams retained the #12, Oklahoma City’s third lottery pick, and was knocked off the board. A potential player who’s been rapidly climbing the draftboards over the last month 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. It features a 7ft 2 wingspan as a versatile wing that could be a great piece for the Thunder moving forward.
In a wild draft for Oklahoma City, they walked away with three lottery picks, all of which have a chance to contribute in their rookie season. The Thunder rebuild took a big step in the right direction during the 2022 NBA Draft.