Thunder Basketball

A Breakdown Of Every Possible 2022 Draft Prospect Thunder Fans Should Know

A Breakdown Of Every Possible 2022 Draft Prospect Thunder Fans Should Know

The college basketball season officially tipped off last night and there were some good games with a lot of
really good performances from future NBA players.
The marquee games came from the Champions Classic which featured 3rd ranked Kansas vs. Michigan St. and
9th ranked Duke vs. 10th ranked Kentucky. Both games had some breakout performances but those weren’t the
only teams that had guys shine on opening night.
For a team like the Thunder, who will again have 3 first round draft picks, last night was kind of the first night
of auditions for a lot of players because there were lots of scouts at each of the games. Especially in The
Garden. No last night wasn’t the end all be all for most guys but for a lot it was good they showed up to make
sure they stayed on the radar of the scouts.
For the Thunder, they have a lot of options they could do with their 3 picks starting with using them all to draft
3 guys. They could also do what they did in this past draft and trade away one for more future picks, or they
could trade them all away for a more established player. The best option, in my opinion, would be to use them
all.
They will have their own which will be the most valuable and is a projected top 5 pick and they also own both
the Clippers and Suns first round picks with only the Suns pick being top 12 protected. The Suns pick is
projected to be late in the first round while the Clippers pick is a little tricky because that pick could fall
anywhere from 5 if they can’t get it together to 20 if they can stay afloat then end up getting Kawhi Leonard
back at some point.
For the sake of this, lets just say it falls in the middle of the first somewhere. So that would mean the Thunder
would have a top 5, late lottery or just outside the lottery, and late first round pick. Not a bad spot to be in for
them.
Now, it should be noted that, as of right now, the team can’t draft 3 guys and not get rid of a few guys that are
on the roster because again, as of right now, all 15 guys on the roster right now are signed to be on the roster
next season and per NBA rules, teams can only have 15 guys on their active roster. Derrick Favors has a $10.1
million player option that he likely opts into but he might not be on the team by the draft so that’s one guy that
could be out. Isaiah Roby and Mike Muscala both have team options that would likely be picked up but if
playing time so far this season is any indication then Roby could be another guy that is gone.
They also have Gabriel Deck and Kenrich Williams both on non-guaranteed contracts and both could also be
off the roster next season with Deck going back to Argentina to play and Kenrich being traded at the deadline.
Either way the Thunder have some decisions to make because they just can’t keep things the way they are and
draft 3 players. It would also not be the smartest thing to keep trading away picks for more picks because then
what was the point of even trading for them in the first place?
As mentioned above, I think the best option would be to use the picks and figure out who they should get rid of.
With that being said, there are plenty of players for them to look at in the upcoming draft. It's going to be a long
season so the names could change but for now these are the players Thunder fans should keep their eyes on and
get familiar with in college basketball.

Their Projected Top 5 Pick

The Thunder need a franchise big man. Someone that can score and defend at a high level or at least do one of
those at an elite level. Lucky for them, the 2022 draft class is littered with big men, particularly at the top. Here
are the guys they should have their eyes on.
Paolo Banchero – PF Duke (6’10,250lbs)
Banchero is projected to go top 2 and after seeing his first game against Kentucky it’s easy to see why. He a
very skilled scorer and could bring the ball up as a playmaker. He has a nice handle for his size which would all
him to create out of the pick and roll as a ball handler. Banchero can also be a monster inside and battle with
other bigs. He would be a perfect addition to the Thunder to go along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh
Giddey because of his scoring and playmaking ability. He does have work to do on the defensive end but will
certainly have some time to get better.
Chet Holmgren – C Gonzaga (7; 195lbs)
Along with Banchero, Holmgren is projected top 2 and again, after seeing his first game it’s easy to see why. He
is a special unique talent. A 7 footer with guards skills is going to be extremely hard to pass on. Especially
considering how well he can defend. His NBA comp has been Dirk lite with Marcus Camby Defense and if that
is really what he is like then he will easily be the first pick. The Thunder could definitely use a guy like him to
be a franchise cornerstone. He needs to add some strength/weight so he doesn’t get pushed around in the post
but being a great shot blocker could solve that.
Jalen Duren – C Memphis (6’10, 230)
Duren might be the most athletic and physically gifted big man in the draft. He’s a guy that commands a double
team in the lost post and doesn’t fold when it happens. He runs the floor really well, has decent hands, and can
really defend. He isn’t the scorer that the others are but could easily turn out to be a decent scoring big. Playing
with the Thunder would be great because of his athleticism and how he runs the floor. He would be a great asset
in pick and roll situations. He is a great rim protector, rebounder, and can sometimes defend guards on the wing.
He does need to work on his footwork and being less predictable in the post but a year with Penny Hardaway
should help.
Jabari Smith – PF/C Auburn (6’10 220lbs)
Outside of Holmgren, Smith might be the best all around big man in the draft. He has all the skills to be a great
NBA player for a really long time. He can score, dribble, stretch the floor, play off the ball, play-make, and
defend. There really isn’t much he can’t do. The biggest thing with him seemed to be consistency but he was in
high school and after a year of college that could be solved. The Thunder could for sure use a prospect like
him.
Yannick Nzosa – C Congo (6’11, 175lbs)
Nzosa isn’t playing college basketball but he definitely someone the Thunder fans have to look up and keep an
eye on. He is a raw prospect but the talent is surely there and he would fit the Thunder timeline. He is a great
roll man and knows how to read defenses in those situations. He’s a decent defender who can protect the rim. He
isn’t the best scorer and doesn’t have all the skills but he has enough talent to be effective on that end of the
floor. Nzosa has some work to go but again the talent is there and would be a nice asset for the Thunder.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. – PF Wisconsin-Milwaukee (6’10 200lbs)

Another raw prospect though his game is a little more polished and doesn’t need as much work as Nzosa. He's a
pretty good athlete that can defend multiple positions. Has some offensive skills like his playmaking, shooting,
and scoring in pick and roll. He’s a decent rebounder also. He’s a guy that would fit their timeline and the more
he plays the better we’ll have an idea of what he can do on the floor.
Nikola Jovic – PF/C Serbia (6’10 2o5lbs)
I wasn’t sure if I should put Jovic on the list for the potential top 5 pick because as of now he’s all over the place
on draft boards but I expect him to be closer to the top 5 than late lottery or late first. He is another guy that isn’t
playing college ball but fans have to keep an eye on him. Like a lot of international guys, Jovic is very skilled.
Decent shooter, playmaker, good in pick and roll, rim protector, and an ok overall defender. He’s not as quick or
athletic as the other bigs mentioned but as we’ve seen, if you’re very skilled that doesn’t matter much.

The Other Two Picks

Going to group the other two picks together because the guys in the late lottery to late first aren’t that separate
from each other. With these picks they can get depth for their front court and/or get more guard depth. Here are
those guys.
TyTy Washington – G Kentucky
Washington didn’t have a great first game but don’t let that detour you from how good he could be. Could be a
lottery pick if he plays like he is expected to. He’s good off the dribble, a decent playmaker, can shoot a little,
knows how to get to the line and can defend. Can be a little streaky and inconsistent but we’ll see more as the
season goes on.
Trevor Keels – G Duke
Keels is going to shoot up draft boards if he plays like he did in Duke’s first game against Kentucky. Before the
game he was projected to go anywhere from the second round to undrafted but it only took a few hours for most
to update their draft boards and put him in the first round. He’s really strong, can get to the basket, he’s a decent
floor general who can play-make for others. He has to become a better shooter but when people talk about
having ‘it’; Keels has it.
Marcus Bagley – F Arizona St.
The younger Bagley could have came out last year but decided to polish his game more and it could turn out
being very beneficial for him. He’s a pretty good all around player. A decent scorer, defender, shooter, and
playmaker. He’s a little streaky and sometimes is a little inconsistent but another year of college will surely
help.
Peyton Watson – SF UCLA
UCLA brought back a good portion of their roster so it might be hard for Watson to crack the starting lineup
early but he will certainly get a lot of playing time. He is a pretty good athlete that can score pretty much
anyway he wants and defends. Not the best shooter so that would need work but he is good off the ball and
would fit really well with the Thunder.

Kendall Brown – SF Baylor
Brown has great size and looks like a NBA player. Good athlete that can score and defend plus plays really
hard. Can even post a little. He isn’t the best shooter and isn't the best ball handler so he for needs to improve in
those areas but does have a lot of talent.
Max Christie – G Michigan St.
Christie is one of my favorite prospects. Looks like a pro player. He can score at all levels and does something a
lot of guards don’t do anymore and that’s score in the midrange. He's shifty, long, and athletic. He has to work
on his defense but would for sure be one of my top picks for the Thunder to draft with one of their later picks. A
lot of upside.
Michael Foster – PF G-League Ignite
He won’t be playing college basketball but Thunder fans can catch him when watching G-League games. Foster
is very athletic and is a decent low post scorer and decent defender also. He can also put the ball on the floor a
little. He doesn’t stretch the floor much and isn’t as polished offensively but he does have some talent and a lot
of upside.
Hunter Sallis – G Gonzaga
Another guy that can score in the midrange that I like. He's a good athlete that can score off the dribble and a
solid defender. He’s an ok shooter but that’s one area he certainly needs to improve. However, his overall skill
could make up for his deficiencies.
Dyson Daniels – G G-League Ignite
Another G-League guy. Playing there will certainly be beneficial for him but don’t be mistaken, he is still good.
Solid athlete that can shoot, play make, defend, and pretty much do a little of everything. Consistency will be
key for him.
Daimion Collins – F Kentucky
I think the best way to describe Collins right now is a very good hustle player. We will see how his game
expands as the season goes on though. Pretty good pick and roll guy and good rebounder and defender. Needs
to add more to his offense though.
Mark Williams – C Duke
Williams is an interesting prospect. They say you can’t teach 7 foot and he is one of the reasons why. He is a
great rim protector and a pretty good pick and roll man. Very strong which helps him score in the low post. He
is a little slow though which could be an issue in the league so he will need to get faster foot speed.

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