2022 NBA draft: Draft grades and thoughts from experts over the Thunder 2022 rookie class
The Oklahoma City Thunder completed the 2022 NBA draft by selecting four players including three in the top 12 of the draft.
The Thunder selected Chet Holmgren at No. 2, Ousmane Dieng at No. 11, Jalen Williams at No. 12 and Jaylin Williams at No. 34.
The Thunder introduced their four rookies on Saturday during their introductory press conference with each speaking glowingly about the franchise and general manager Sam Presti.
Usually, following drafts, sports pundits hand out grades for teams on the haul they got. Let’s take a look at what draft experts said about the Thunder draft. To read OKC Thunder Wire’s grades, click this link.
(Credit to The Rockets Wire’s Ben DuBose for accumulating the draft grade posts. For the Houston Rockets’ version, click here.)
Colin-Ward Henniger, CBS Sports
“Holmgren could end up being the best player in the draft, so this is already a great night for OKC, and Dieng may have the biggest upside of any player taken in the late lottery. No. 12 may have been a bit high for Jalen Williams (not to be confused with Jaylin Williams, whom they also drafted), but his stock rose like crazy during the pre-draft process. The bigger Williams from Arkansas is an intriguing talent who took a ton of charges and was seen by some as a first-round possibility.”
Andrew Lopez, ESPN
Which team impressed you most in this year’s draft?
“Oklahoma City identified the players it wanted and went after them. After Orlando shook up the draft at No. 1, the Thunder stayed true to what they wanted by taking Holmgren at No. 2. Instead of waiting for Ousmane Dieng to slide to them at No. 12, they sent three future first-round picks to New York for Dieng, then drafted Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams with their No. 12 pick. With the No. 34 pick, the Thunder did their coaches, PR staff and fans no favors by drafting Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams — which surely won’t confuse anyone.”
Jeff Borzello, ESPN
Which team had the most underwhelming draft night?
“I don’t think there were any bad drafts, but the Thunder and Grizzlies raised some eyebrows with their first-round moves. Chet Holmgren was a no-brainer, but trading three first-round picks — all heavily protected — to the Knicks for Ousmane Dieng at No. 11 was unexpected. Taking Jalen Williams at No. 12 felt a bit early, even though Williams’ stock has continued to rise.”
Kyle Irving, The Sporting News
“While I don’t love that the Thunder traded three (!) future first-round picks to the Knicks to acquire the 11th pick to draft Dieng, I have to respect their direction. Oklahoma City targeted upside potential and length in this draft. In their first three lottery picks, they added 21 feet and eight inches of wingspan. Holmgren and Dieng are very unique talents. Jalen Williams is a versatile offensive threat. Jaylin Williams is a dog on both ends of the floor. The Thunder took a home run hack in this draft and I can’t wait to see how it pans out.”
Ben Golliver, Washington Post
“Banchero’s surprise selection at No. 1 threatened to upend Holmgren’s night by sending him sliding down the board. Instead, Oklahoma City stayed the course and selected the 7-foot Gonzaga freshman rather than taking Smith. Holmgren couldn’t have asked for a better home than the small-market Thunder, which is fully committed to a patient developmental approach and can help shield him from questions about his physique early in his career. Oklahoma City reinforced its plans to build slowly by adding two other lottery picks: Dieng and Jalen Williams.
Holmgren is an “all ball, all the time” type, and he will be able to concentrate on his craft in Oklahoma City, just as he did in Spokane. Best of all, Holmgren is a highly efficient finisher around the basket and will be on the receiving end of plays set up by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. The offensive fit, especially with Giddey and his elite vision, should produce must-see TV for League Pass die-hards.”
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic
“The Thunder came away with three lottery picks. It required dipping into their cache of future picks to get them, as they decided to move three future first-rounders to the Knicks to get Ousmane Dieng at No. 11. I didn’t love that move. But at the end of the day, the Thunder got Holmgren, my No. 1 overall player, at No. 2. He’s a terrific fit for the team they’re building. Holmgren is a 7-foot defensive stopper who can grab and go, handle the ball on the break, shoot from distance and make passing reads. He is everything the Thunder want from a center in coach Mark Daigneault’s five-out offense. It’s a perfect fit. They also got Dieng, and while I’m less high on him, I acknowledge his upside as a big wing passer and playmaker. The final of the three lottery picks at No. 12 was Jalen Williams, a 6-foot-6 wing with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who skyrocketed up draft boards after impressing during workouts.
It’s clear what the Thunder are doing. They’re acquiring players with terrific positional size, high basketball IQ and real skill level. It sounds easy when you say it like that, but every decision the Thunder have made has been committed to prioritizing those traits, which are among the most important aspects of basketball moving forward. I’m an enormous fan of the Thunder’s rebuilding project, and it’s undeniable they’re a better team today than they were yesterday.”