Now that the lottery results are in and teams are slotted, the rumor mill is churning away. Oklahoma City is the only team in the NBA with two lottery picks, and Sam Presti is known to have a soft spot for future draft picks.
The Thunder are heading into year three of the rebuild after securing top ten picks in consecutive seasons. This pick is different, though, as Oklahoma City has solid odds to draft a franchise-changing talent at No. 2.
In rebuilding through the draft, teams can only hope to land a top three pick in today’s NBA. With how the lottery odds are set, it’s truly impossible to guarantee a pick at the top. There have been plenty of teams rumored to move up, and people like to peg the Thunder as a potential trade partner. The rumors are just that, though: rumors.
The general skepticism of Oklahoma City being willing to trade down is valid, as even if the Thunder are gifted future first round picks, there’s a very little chance they’ll be in the top three. The Kings would likely offer the No. 4 pick and an unprotected first next year to any team inside the top three, but would it be the right move for the rebuilding Thunder?
At No. 2, the Thunder can pair Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey with a third star to lock in for the foreseeable future. Orlando seems to be enthralled with Jabari Smith Jr., causing rumors to run rampant about Oklahoma City selecting Chet Holmgren.
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If the Thunder has a chance to draft a player like Holmgren, trading out of the top three seems pretty unlikely. Yes, snagging an unprotected first rounder from the Kings would be nice, but there’s no telling where that pick lands at the end of the season. Oklahoma City already has a piece of the puzzle set in stone by staying out and selecting a top prospect.
The 7-footer from Gonzaga seems to be excited about his fit alongside SGA and Giddey, and the Thunder should be equally excited about Homgren’s potential fit in OKC. He’s described himself as positionless and that’s how the Thunder should view him too, sliding in seamlessly wherever need be on the roster.
More first round picks could be enticing for the organization, especially the Kings unprotected first rounder, but Oklahoma City should stand pat and trust their scouting at No. 2. Presti has a history of hitting home runs on top five picks and fans should continue to trust in his drafting process. Trading back doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Thunder, who got the pick they needed and are ready to start heading into the future.