Skip to main content

Marquee Moments From OKC Thunder's Rookie Introductory Presser

The Oklahoma City Thunder introduced their four newest members on Saturday.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The Oklahoma City Thunder became the first team in the 2000s to select three players in the top 12 picks Thursday evening. With the franchise’s haul taking center stage on Thursday, the franchise held their rookie introduction presser for media members.

All four of the Thunder’s picks Chet Holmgren (pick No. 2), Ousmane Dieng (pick No. 11), Jalen Williams (pick No. 12), and Jaylin Williams (pick No. 34) were in attendance for the event.

Here were some of the top quotes, moments, and tidbits from Saturday’s presser:

Pick For The Person

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been adamant about cultivating an elite team culture under their roof. One of the ways the organization has done this has been its draft process, picking people first and players second.

Sam Presti feels very strongly that this year’s class yielded great people for the organization.

"This is a culmination of a real journey for all of these individuals,” Presti said. “They have some of the qualities that we look for in young people.

Over the last couple of years, we've been able to bring tremendous young people to Oklahoma City. I couldn't be more proud of the human beings that will be wearing our jersey.”

JDub and Jay Will

Following the Thunder’s selection of Arkansas center Jaylin Williams Thursday evening, a unique conversation was brought to the table – how do you differentiate between the two?

With both Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams sharing phonetically identical names, nicknames were in order following Thursday. Following Thursday’s presser which saw the two addressed “Santa Clara Jalen Williams” and “Arkansas Jaylin Williams”, the recently assembled teammates have set the record straight.

Meet Jalen “JDub” Williams and Jaylin “Jay Will” Williams.

“I think it’s pretty rare for somebody to have the exact same name as you, so it was pretty surreal [when he was selected],” Jalen Williams said. “I go by JDub, and that’s [Jaylin Williams] Jay Will, so we kinda been figuring that out since we got here.”

Thunder Plan to Exercise Lu Dort’s Option

With Lu Dort’s fourth-year team option available to decline until June 29, the organization has a call to make. They can either keep the guard under contract for $1.9 million next season or decline his deal now to secure signing him long-term in restricted free agency.

As noted by Sam Presti, they plan to exercise Dort’s option, moving him to unrestricted free agency next season.

Chet Wanted to Play in OKC

When pre-draft rumors took center stage in the past few weeks, the idea was swirled that Chet Holmgren had the Oklahoma City Thunder as one of his top landing spots.

It sounds the rumors may have held some substance/

"Well not that I'm here, I can officially this [Oklahoma City] is where I want to be."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Jalen Williams’ Lottery Journey

Jalen Williams’ trek to the NBA was a unique story in itself. However, his ascension to a lottery selection makes his rise a tale for the ages.

During Williams’ tenure at Santa Clara, he noted that he’d gone a month and a half without shooting a basketball during the COVID offseason. When he concluded his sophomore season, NBA teams had no intention of him becoming a lottery pick. That sentiment holds firm with Sam Presti.

“The truth on Jalen is, our eyes really opened to him later in this process,” Presti said. “I wish I could tell you last season at Santa Clara we were like ‘this guy is going to be a lottery pick.’ That wasn’t the case. But he beat the door down with the way he approaches the game.”

Jalen Williams to Wear No. 8 in Tribute to Kobe Bryant

If you take a peek into JDub’s TikTok page, the guard has shown his love towards Kobe Bryant on multiple occasions. When the available jersey numbers popped up, he paid tribute to his childhood star, electing to wear jersey No. 8.

Relish in Roster Spaces

The Thunder have pushed themselves well above the roster limit this week acquiring these four prospects through the draft and signing Jaden Shackelford and Gabe Brown to Exhibit-10 contracts.

While the roster is expecting an impending crunch, Sam Presti has mentioned on numerous occasions that this cap will not get in the way of decisions.

Buying Time

The Thunder bolstered up in the frame department Thursday, acquiring three players above 6-foot-10, and all four players clocking a 7-foot wingspan.

In the Thunder’s camp, size helped play a role in such draft decisions. However, the individuals’ unique frames allow for additional benefits – particularly time.

"The combination of decision-making at that size allows you to make better decisions with more time,” Presti said. “The best players in the world create time. One of the best ways to create time is to see over things. When you add size to it, you create time."

JaMychal Green 

After the team's official press conference, a media scrum took place in which all four of the Thunder's selections, Sam Presti, and others were available to field questions.

In the scrum, ThunderWire Editor Clemente Almanza asked Presti about JaMychal Green and his status with the team. It appears they'll be looking to find him a new home.

“We’re trying to figure that out. I think we’ll probably find a situation for him that’s not with us but that’s not because we don’t value him as a player,” said Presti. “My hope is we’ll be able to sort that out.”

Green, who was acquired earlier in the month, is owed $8.2 million for next season.


Want to join the discussion? Like SI Thunder on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest Thunder news. You can also meet the team behind the coverage.