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Hidden Gems: Ismael Kamagate Fits Modern Mold

If Oklahoma City is going to take a chance on a center outside of the lottery, Ismael Kamagate could be a steal.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a glaring hole at the center position as they enter the third season of their rebuild. As such, it would make sense for them to take a center with one of their four picks in next month's draft.

After Jalen Duren, who’s projected to be taken in the lottery, there’s not a consensus next best center. Due to this, there’s a handful of bigs that could end up being steals based on where they’re taken.

Among the international centers, Ismael Kamagate might be the most interesting. He hasn’t shown the ability to be a consistent prospect, but the flashes are extremely promising. Standing at 6-foot-11, the French center is a great athlete that fits the mold of a modern big.

Perhaps the best international center in this class, Kamagate has a ton of upside. He lacks creation at this point in his career, but has the physical frame to make an impact in the NBA. At 21 years old, Kamagate is not as young as many of his peers in the class, but that shouldn’t be a reason for rebuilding teams to avoid him in the upcoming draft.

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With the No. 34 overall pick, Kamagate could be a quality selection for Oklahoma City. He’s not a great rebounder at this point, but makes up for it with his mobility and athleticism. These traits make him an elite rim protector that can truly change an opposing team’s offensive game plan. He’s also got a body that’s ready for the NBA, and would likely slot in as an opening day starter at center for the Thunder.

Kamagate still has quite a bit he needs to improve on to be a contributor at the highest level, but he’s got the tools to be as good as nearly any center in the 2022 NBA Draft.


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