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Tankathon Mock Draft: Thunder Hit Jackpot on Lottery Night

The Oklahoma City Thunder fetch a dream scenario in Inside the Thunder's final mock drawing.

The big day is finally here.

For months, a multitude of organizations have patiently waited for tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery. At 7 pm CST, the full alignment of picks will be revealed.

The ping-pong balls only bounce one time per year at the NBA ranks, but for fans, Tankathon.com has been the go-to destination for lottery luck all season long. Tonight will mark the site's last hoorah for its 2021-22 season – and for Inside the Thunder – it calls for its last spin of the season.

Carrying the fourth-best odds with their own pick and the twelfth-best odds from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder’s envelopes could be opened anywhere on the draft board. In our final spin, they saved their best for last.

The Result

Tankathon

The Picks:

No. 1 Thunder: Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

No. 2 Pelicans: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

No. 3 Pistons: Paolo Banchero, Duke

No. 4 Thunder: Jaden Ivey, Purdue

No. 5 Rockets: Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

No. 6 Magic: AJ Griffin, Duke

No. 7 Pacers: Keegan Murray, Iowa

No. 8 Trail Blazers: Benedict Mathurin, Arizona

No. 9 Kings: Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite

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No. 10 Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, Baylor

No. 11 Wizards: Jalen Duren, Memphis

No. 12 Knicks: Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

No. 13 Hornets: Ousmane Dieng, NZ Breakers

No. 14 Cavaliers: Tari Eason, LSU

The Rationale:

0.31%. That’s the likelihood of the Thunder pulling this exact draw in tonight’s Draft Lottery.

In this jackpot of a haul, Oklahoma City finds themselves with two picks falling into the Top 4, with their selection gracing the top of the board and Los Angeles’ selection skyrocketing eight spots to the fourth spot.

Jabari Smith Jr. finds himself as the top selection in this draft, one which may be considered surprising to some – but the fit is undeniable. There are strong cases for Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Blanchero to be the choice here. However, Smith Jr.’s elite shooting ability and versatile defense makes him a match made in heaven for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.

Sam Presti keeps his telephone line busy with the New Orleans Pelicans on the other line. He tries his best to package the fourth pick alongside a bevy of future assets. With Jonas Valanciunas headed into free agency, they replenish the center spot.

With Holmgren off the board, Presti calls former Thunder executive Troy Weaver for a trade. However, this deal also fails to surface with Paolo Blanchero being the pick here.

Oklahoma City elects to go the best player available after rolling no dice on obtaining a second selection in the Top 3. Due to this, the Thunder take Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, a 6-foot-4 guard who’s shown elite athletic ability, create his own shot, and shoot off the catch.

Ideally, Oklahoma City would want to come out of this draft with both Jabari Smith Jr. and Chet Holmgren. For this recipe, I could envision Oklahoma City throwing a smokescreen to select Chet Holmgren in an effort to conduct a trade with the Pelicans, who already have Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on their roster.

Even if no trades commence, this result is still golden. Smith Jr. adds the sharpshooter the Thunder have been desperately yearning for while Ivey brings you an offensive flamethrower moving forward.


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