The biggest (literally) Thunder news of the night was GM Sam Presti’s selection of Chet Holmgren with the #2 overall pick in the NBA Draft. They then took the lottery by storm, acquiring the Knicks’ #11 pick while keeping their own #12 selection to grab Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams back to back at those respective slots. Oklahoma City rounded out the night by picking up Jaylin Williams, a 20-year-old big out of Arkansas, with their lone second round pick (#34 overall).
Rumors of OKC trading up were rampant, but adding an extra lottery pick wasn’t a common expectation. The Thunder gave up multiple, protected 2023 first rounders in return for the Knicks’ spot this draft, but retained all of their players and otherwise kept the stockpile of future assets intact.
OKC will continue to prioritize talent development and long-term team building with an eye toward a more heralded draft class next year and other acquisitions when the team is once again ready to contend.
The Thunder roster is still far from a finished product as the rebuild continues on, but its future core is now less abstract than it has been ever since the departure of Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2019. Other young players like Lu Dort, Tre Mann, Darius Bazley, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will continue to battle for long-term spots next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Holmgren, and the other newcomers. More aggressive trading from Presti is always a possibility, and the routine churn of camp invites and undrafted signings will proceed in the coming days and weeks as the team looks to evaluate and develop talent outside of its marquee names.
Stay tuned to Daily Thunder as we follow this seismic influx of talent as it takes shape on the court in Oklahoma City.