Oklahoma City Thunder: 2022 NBA Draft Team Needs and Targets
With the 2022 NBA Draft fast approaching, we're taking a look at what each lottery team needs to target with their draft selections, continuing with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Welcome back to our No Ceilings 2022 NBA Draft Lottery Team Series!
Over the next few weeks, we as a team are going to dive into the needs and targets of each lottery squad. What are the weaknesses and holes of each franchise? Are there players targetable in the lottery who can help fill those gaps?
We will answer those questions and more 5-on-5 style, continuing with the Oklahoma City Thunder!
Without further ado, let’s see where Oklahoma City should look for some help with the second and twelfth overall picks.
1. What do you think is the Thunder’s biggest weakness that NEEDS to be addressed on draft night?
Nathan: Frontcourt depth. The Thunder need more options and depth at the forward and center spots and should be able to address those needs with both lottery picks along with continuing to add defensive versatility.
Tyler Rucker: Poku. I’m kidding, Thunder fans; are we having fun yet?! OKC is going to find themselves in an awesome position with #2 and #12 to potentially find some serious help in the frontcourt.
Tyler Metcalf: Everything other than point guard.
Nick: Frontcourt depth. Even the world’s greatest Poku stans would argue that this team could use more of a paint presence on both ends, as Mike Muscala and Derrick Favors are not going to cut it in the frontcourt in the long run for the Thunder.
Albert: Can we get some size? Also, I’d like to see them add some wings to play with SGA and Giddey.
Alex: Versatile big men who can play both ends.
Evan: I think everyone loves Oklahoma City’s trio of guards in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Tre Mann, but their frontcourt is extremely low on depth or talent. The Thunder also ranked dead last in offensive rating (103.8) and 28th in assist to turnover ratio (1.59) last season. Like most teams picking in the top 3 of the draft, OKC needs help in a plethora of ways.
Maxwell: Size and defense.
Stephen: Play finishing, size, strength.
2. Which position group would you target most for the Thunder: Guards, Wings, Forwards, or Centers?
Nathan: Forwards. Similar to how I answered for the Houston Rockets, the options with the second pick are laid out in front of them. As for the 12th pick, I would lean on getting another wing/forward or possibly a center depending on how they draft with the #2 pick.
Tyler Rucker: Centers and Forwards. Here’s the truth. Sam Presti is a machine of madness. He could trade out of #2, and it wouldn’t shock me. But looking at his roster, I think he’s got a great opportunity this year to add some legit frontcourt tools to groom moving forward. I’m way too amped for this.
Tyler Metcalf: Forwards/Centers.
Nick: Forwards, then centers.
Evan: Forwards, Wings, and Centers.
Maxwell: Forwards and centers.
3. Is there any argument for the Thunder to draft based on fit around a core group of players, or should “BPA” be in play at all times for Oklahoma City on draft night?
Nathan: BPA. ZERO QUESTIONS ASKED. The Thunder don’t have a strong stable of players we know for a fact will be there in the future. Getting the best player who could also be a valuable developmental piece or asset down the road should be the mindset of Sam Presti on draft night.
Tyler Rucker: *Sam Presti has been laughing for 10 minutes after reading this question*
Tyler Metcalf: This team has the second pick for a reason. BPA.
Nick: BPA. The Thunder are not in a position to attempt to draft for fit, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and the rest of this roster would fit pretty well with the players at the top of this draft anyway.
Albert: BPA. You know how things start to sound weird when you keep repeating them?
Alex: It’s getting redundant at this point, but it’s BPA. Almost every draft the teams drafting at the top should just go BPA. Even teams who are closer to contending for titles should also probably go BPA this high (*cough* Warriors *cough*).
Evan: It’s BPA; I shouldn’t have to really expand on this one.
Maxwell: Based on their draft slot, you absolutely go BPA and don’t have to consider fit.
Stephen: There isn’t a player that would pigeonhole SGA or Giddey in a particular role, so BPA should be the move. There is a player or two whose fit I don’t love, but BPA at the second spot meshes nicely with the fit philosophy.
4. Who are the Top 5 targets for the Thunder to select with the second pick? Do any names stand out for the 12th pick?
Nathan: #2: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Shaedon Sharpe, and Keegan Murray; #12: Mark Williams, Jalen Duren, Ousmane Dieng, AJ Griffin, and Malaki Branham.
Tyler Rucker: #2: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Keegan Murray, and Jaden Ivey. #12: Mark Williams, Jeremy Sochan, Jalen Duren, Malaki Branham, and Ousmane Dieng.
Tyler Metcalf: #2: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Shaedon Sharpe, and Keegan Murray. #12: AJ Griffin, Ousmane Dieng, Jeremy Sochan, Mark Williams, and Malaki Branham.
Nick: #2: Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, Jaden Ivey, and Shaedon Sharpe. #12: Mark Williams, Malaki Branham, AJ Griffin, Ochai Agbaji, and Ousmane Dieng.
Albert: #2: Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Shaedon Sharpe, and Johnny Davis. At #12: Malaki Branham, Jalen Duren, Benedict Mathurin, Ochai Agbaji, and Ousmane Dieng.
Alex: For the #2 pick, it would have to be one of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, or Jaden Ivey. At pick #12, this is where I could see them going with a true center like Mark Williams or Jalen Duren. Even if they end up with Chet at #2, I think, given his perimeter skills, he can fit alongside either of those bigs.
Evan: For the #2 pick, I’d go Bennedict Mathurin, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., Keegan Murray, or Paolo Banchero. For the #12 pick, I’d go AJ Griffin, Dyson Daniels, Jalen Duren, Mark Williams, or Malaki Branham.
Maxwell: For 2- Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Dyson Daniels, and Bennedict Mathurin. At 12- Jalen Duren, Mark Williams, Jeremy Sochan, AJ Griffin, and Ochai Agbaji.
Stephen: At #2: Jabari Smith Jr., Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Shaedon Sharpe, and Dyson Daniels. At #12: Jalen Duren, AJ Griffin, Jeremy Sochan, Tari Eason, and Ochai Agbaji.
5. Who is an under-the-radar surprise target for the Thunder?
Nathan: There have been rumblings of the Thunder trading back with another team interested in trading up to 2. I will take those rumors with a grain of salt, but trading back and getting one of Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, or Dyson Daniels shouldn’t shock anyone if it means Presti is also getting more draft choices on the back end. Pairing either of those guys with one of Mark Williams or Jalen Duren later in the lottery would be a massive win.
Tyler Rucker: Keegan Murray. All it takes is for Sam Presti to not be convinced about the Top 3. He’s never been afraid to stick to his guns (see Josh Giddey). Would Presti take Murray at #2? Probably not. Could he intrigue someone to come up to #2 and drop back and scoop Murray? It wouldn’t shock me at this point.
Tyler Metcalf: Patrick Baldwin Jr would be a surprise given how brutal his freshman season was. Despite the tape, he’s still a promising shooter who I still believe in as a third/fourth scoring option.
Nick: Since they have the #2 pick in the draft as well, the Thunder could opt to take a swing for the fences with the #12 pick. Nikola Jovic could shore up their frontcourt depth and would provide a fascinating playmaking component as well; they could also be the team that takes a chance on Jaden Hardy as someone with a higher upside than teams usually get at 12th overall.
Albert: Mark Williams at #12 would surprise me, but I also think that would be a really solid pick for them. Adding a big like Williams would be phenomenal for them. He’d be a huge target for their playmaking wings from day one and could anchor their defense as well.
Evan: Maybe they take a shot on Keegan Murray at #2. I know a lot of the online draft community likes to be critical of Murray’s potential, but there also seems to be equal support from many who believe he’s a Top 3-5 talent in this class. I could see Sam Presti thinking outside of the box here and selecting the Iowa star.
Maxwell: I could see them taking a big swing at #12, someone like Ousmane Dieng or Jaden Hardy.
Stephen: I feel like Johnny Davis is about as surprising as it gets for the second pick in the draft, but there is a good player there that fits the concept of “drafting a person” that we’ve heard Presti discuss. Davis measured taller than anticipated, which helps the lineup versatility for the Thunder. His mature shot profile gives OKC a fun wrinkle, plus he is an awesome defender. He’ll give whatever team lands him everything he’s got.