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Thunder Can Again Pass on True Starting Center at Draft

Oklahoma City could opt against taking a true center in the 2022 NBA Draft.

It won’t be music to Thunder fans ears, but Oklahoma City could again pass on a true starting center in the 2022 NBA Draft.

For the entire last season, the Thunder have been without a starting center. They’ve mainly relied on young, undersized post-players and similar veterans.

It’s obvious Presti has been patiently waiting to nab someone worthy of the role of OKC’s center of the future, but that could be prolonged past even 2022’s draft.

With what is shaping to be a loaded 2023 draft class and no pinpoint timetable for Presti’s Thunder roster to make their return to the playoffs, OKC could again choose to play another season in small-ball mode.

It also puts OKC at a pretty distinct disadvantage against a good chunk of the league, something Presti has got to be thinking about heading into 2023.

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Past Chet Holmgren, who nearly cemented himself as the No. 1 pick in one season at Gonzaga, the center options in the 2022 just don’t seem viable for Oklahoma City.

It’s clear Sam Presti would like close to every player on the roster to be able to pass and handle the ball and eventually space the floor, and the options outside of Holmgren aren’t especially promising in those areas.

Duke’s Mark Williams, Arizona’s Christian Koloko and Auburn’s Walker Kessler, while all good options, fit much more of the traditional center role, something Presti may not value as much. Koloko offers intriguing upside as a passer, but is essentially a non-shooter.

There’s other interesting international options: Yannick Nsoza of the Congo, Khalifa Drop of Senegal and Ismael Kamagate of France. And Presti could very well have his eye on several of those prospects in the second round.

For now, fans will wait with bated breath to see what picks OKC lands at the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery on May 17.

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