In next month’s draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder have four picks in the top 35. With their final pick at No. 34 overall, they’ll have the opportunity to take a gamble on a prospect early in the second round.
Every year, there’s first-round talents that slip to the second round, as well as younger prospects that leave college a year earlier than they probably should but have a ton of upside.
In either case, this will be a great chance for Oklahoma City to swing for the fences and land a prospect for the future. As Thunder GM Sam Presti continues to rebuild a roster around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, these later picks could still provide value.
Who would be worth taking with the No. 34 pick?
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Leonard Miller (International)
Oklahoma City is known for going after Canadian prospects, with Miller potentially being the next in line. Standing at 6-foot-10, he’s the perfect modern forward at the NBA level. A fairly raw player at this point, he’d likely be a project, but would have plenty of opportunity with the rebuilding Thunder.
Miller has a unique combination of length and playmaking. In the NBA down the road, he projects to be a solid scorer and passer at his position. He’s got unorthodox mechanics, but still has the tools to be a good shooter after a few years of development.
Peyton Watson (UCLA)
Despite not starting a single game as a freshman at UCLA, Watson could easily be the first player taken from that team in the 2022 NBA Draft. On minimal attempts, he wasn’t a great 3-point shooter last season but has a clear pathway to becoming a quality perimeter scorer in the NBA.
Watson didn’t get consistent minutes in college, so it’s hard to get a real gauge on what he could do in a rotation at the next level. Especially on a rebuilding team like the Thunder that has a fluid G League system to get additional reps in, his development could be expedited to the point where he ends up looking like a first-round talent after his rookie season.
Bryce McGowens (Nebraska)
A promising wing prospect with good size at 6-foot-7, McGowens is a natural scorer. Although he’s got a similar game to current Thunder forward Aaron Wiggins, McGowens has a higher ceiling and more upside. In the modern NBA, you can never have too many guys with this type of skillset.
At times in his lone college season, his shot selection was questionable and he had to shoot a high volume to score points on a poor Nebraska team. However, if he’s able to become a more efficient scorer and consistent shooter, McGowens could end up being one of the better prospects in this class.
Josh Minott (Memphis)
Playing alongside a lottery pick last season in Jalen Duren, Minott was often overshadowed. More of a defensive prospect, his offense at the next level will ultimately determine his ceiling as a player. He’s proven to be a solid facilitator at 6-foot-8 on the wing, but has a long way to go.
The biggest knock on Minott’s game is his perimeter shooting. In one season at Memphis, he converted on less than 15% of his 3-point attempts on very minimal attempts. If he’s able to develop into even a respectable shooter, he’s got the upside of being a coveted 3-and-D player in the NBA.
Max Christie (Michigan State)
Entering college, Christie was one of the most highly anticipated freshman. At one point, he seemed like an easy pick in the lottery, but was fairly underwhelming in his lone college season. Standing at 6-foot-6, he’s yet another wing prospect that could end up being a steal in the second round of this draft.
While his 3-point shooting numbers were decent last season at Michigan State, his mechanics and upside on the perimeter would suggest he could ultimately become an elite shooter at the next level. Like many of the potential second-round steals in this class, he’ll need time to develop in the NBA before becoming a legitimate contributor.