The Oklahoma City Thunder completed the 2022 NBA draft by selecting four players, including three in the top 12 of the draft.
The Thunder introduced their four rookies on Saturday at their inaugural press conference, with each enthusiastically speaking about the franchise and general manager Sam Presti.
Usually, after drafts, sports experts hand out numbers for teams by the distance they have achieved. Let’s take a look at what concept experts said about the Thunder concept. Click this link to read OKC Thunder Wire’s numbers.
Colin-Ward Henniger, CBS Sports
“Holmgren could become the best player in the draft, so this is already a great night for OKC, and Dieng has arguably the biggest advantage of all the players who entered the late lottery. Number 12 may have been a little high for Jalen Williams (not to be confused with Jaylin Williams, who also drafted them), but his stock soared like crazy during the pre-draft process. The bigger Williams from Arkansas is an intriguing talent who took on a slew of charges and was seen by some as a first-round opportunity.”
Andrew Lopez, ESPN
“Oklahoma City identified the players that wanted it and went after them. After Orlando shuffled the draft at number 1, the Thunder stayed true to what they wanted by taking Holmgren at number 2. Instead of waiting for Ousmane Dieng to them to number 12, they sent three future first round picks to New York for Dieng, then fielded Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams with their number 12 pick. With the number 34 pick, the Thunder did their coaches, PR staff and fans no fun by drafting Jaylin Williams from Arkansas – which is sure not to confuse anyone.
Jeff Borzello, ESPN
“I don’t think there were any bad drafts, but the Thunder and Grizzlies raised some eyebrows with their first round moves. Chet Holmgren was a no-brainer, but trading three first-round picks – all heavily protected – to the Knicks for Ousmane Dieng at number 11 was unexpected. Taking on Jalen Williams at number 12 felt a little early, even though Williams’ stock has continued to climb.”
Kyle Irving, the sports news
“While I don’t like that the Thunder traded three (!) future first-round picks with the Knicks to acquire 11th pick to draft Dieng, I have to respect their direction. Oklahoma City aimed for upside and length in this draft. In their first three lottery picks, they added 21 feet and eight inches wingspan† Holmgren and Dieng are very unique talents. Jalen Williams is a versatile offensive threat. Jaylin Williams is a dog on both sides of the floor. The Thunder took a home run hack on this design and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”
Ben Goliver, Washington Post
Banchero’s surprising selection at number 1 threatened to disrupt Holmgren’s evening by letting him slide off the board. Instead, Oklahoma City stayed on track and selected the 7-foot Gonzaga freshman instead of taking Smith. Holmgren couldn’t have asked for a better home than little Thunder, who is fully committed to a patient approach to development and can help protect him from questions about his physique early in his career. Oklahoma City bolstered its plans to build slowly by adding two other lottery picks: Dieng and Jalen Williams.
Holmgren is an all ball, all time type and he will be able to focus on his craft in Oklahoma City, just like in Spokane. Best of all, Holmgren is a very efficient finisher around the basket and will be on the receiving end of plays put on by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. The attacking fit, especially with Giddey and his elite vision, should deliver must-see TV for the die-hards of League Pass.”
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic
“The Thunder got away with three lottery picks. It takes a dive into their cache of future picks to get them, as they decided to send three future first-rounders to the Knicks to get Ousmane Dieng at number 11. I didn’t like that move. But at the end of the day, the Thunder Holmgren, my number 1 overall player, got to number 2. He’s a great fit for the team they are building. Holmgren is a 7-foot defensive stopper who can grab and go, grab the ball at break, shoot from distance and read passes. He is everything the Thunder wants from a center in coach Mark Daigneault’s five-out attack. It fits perfectly. They got their hands on Dieng too, and while I’m not as high on him, I recognize his advantage as a great wing passer and playmaker. The last of the three lottery picks at number 12 was Jalen Williams, a six-foot wing with a six-foot wingspan that rocketed up after impressing during training sessions.
It’s obvious what the Thunder are doing. They acquire players with great positional size, high basketball IQ and real skill level. It sounds easy when you put it that way, but every decision the Thunder has made prioritizes those qualities that are among the most important aspects of basketball. I’m a huge fan of the Thunder’s rebuilding project and there’s no denying that they’re a better team today than they were yesterday.”