Recapping ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony’s appearance on ESPN Daily podcast

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ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony appeared on the ESPN Daily podcast on Monday with host Pablo Torre to discuss the 2022 NBA draft.

Let’s take a look at some of the more noteworthy quotes and paraphrases that relate to the Oklahoma City Thunder — who own three top-34 picks which includes the No. 2  and No. 12 picks.

Givony specifically mentioned that the Thunder — who own several draft picks — can essentially do whatever they want this draft as they have the luxury to overpay in trade packages with draft picks and current players other teams like that aren’t named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.

Jabari Smith Jr. to Magic

Givony said he thinks that the Orlando Magic will draft Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. first overall as the overwhelming favorite. There has been recent uncertainty about who is going first overall, but it sounds like Smith Jr. is still the favorite for arguably the best draft expert in the league.

Which means that the Thunder will likely select…

Chet Holmgren still projected to go to OKC

Givony said that he has Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren penciled into the No. 2 slot for the Thunder, which has been the prediction by most since the lottery ended.

Givony also said he thinks Holmgren is his best prospect for this class.

“Absolutely love everything about Chet. And I didn’t the very first moment that I saw him, but he’s really grown on me so much…

He’s so fluid with the ball. He plays his ass off. He’s a phenomenal shooter. He put on a show the last day. I love how unafraid he is. He’s super skilled…

Chet Holmgren is the toughest player in this draft in terms of just like, the physicality that he wants to bring, and his will to win. And that’s what makes me think he’s going to be a great NBA player.”

Thunder could do anything they want this draft with picks and current players

Givony said that the Thunder having a treasure trove of draft picks basically means they can do whatever they want this draft by overpaying in trades and having players that other teams would like to trade for.

“Then there’s other teams that could could be looking to move up — Oklahoma City. They have this treasure trove of picks…

They just got another (first-round pick) from Denver. So I believe it’s 14 first-round picks that aren’t their own, between 2023 and 2027.

And they have players that people like. They have Lu Dort. They have Kenrich Williams. They have guys like Isaiah Roby. I mean, they have their two potential our stars in Shai and Giddey — which they’re not going to trade and they have all this cap room too that if they don’t use it by July 1, it just evaporates…

They can do anything they want in this draft, if they want to go crazy and say, ‘we’ll give you 10 future first rounders to move up.’ You know, like who says no to that? That’s really the question.”

Players want to win

When discussing the possibility of tanking another season to finish with top-three lottery odds for projected 2023 No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama, Givony notes that the Thunder have too many good players to let that happen who are ready to start winning.

Particularly, Givony brought up Gilgeous-Alexander, who would be upset at missing the playoffs for a third straight season.

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