OKC Thunder Could Take Paolo Banchero With No. 2 Pick

Paolo Banchero, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA Draft Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The only thing we know about the Oklahoma City Thunder heading into the 2022 NBA offseason is that they are still rebuilding. What direction that rebuild will take is anyone’s guess as they are a notoriously difficult team to peg the plans for.

Sam Presti and company play things close to the vest, as leaks rarely occur about prospects they may be interested in. Last season, they surprised a lot of people when they selected Josh Giddey sixth overall.

This season, the process of eliminating potential draft picks will be a little easier since they will be selecting No. 2 overall. Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn seems to be where most draft analysts are leaning for the No. 1 overall pick, but Chet Holmgren out of Gonzaga and Paolo Banchero out of Duke will be in play as well.

Those three players have seemingly pulled away from the rest of their peers as a consensus top-three in the 2022 NBA Draft class. The Thunder will be able to come away with at least one of them, but who will they lean toward?

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According to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, Banchero may be where the Thunder are leaning in the early going. He has heard that the versatile forward may be who Oklahoma City favors.

“But I’ve also heard quite a few educated theories since draft night that Oklahoma City may favor Duke forward Paolo Banchero in this spot. It feels like the concern over Banchero’s defense (which, to some extent, I share) has been somewhat overblown on the public front.”

There is a lot to like when it comes to Banchero. Unlike Holmgren, who will need some time to fill out his slender frame and add strength, Banchero has an NBA-ready body. You can put him in the Thunder’s rotation right now and he should improve them instantly.

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Banchero possesses a rare blend of skills and feel for the game at his size. He can score from virtually anywhere on the court, providing versatility on the perimeter as he is a capable playmaker as a point forward and can do damage as a screen setter.

Analysts can go back and forth for hours about the ceilings Paolo Banchero and Holmgren possess, as both are very talented players. The Oklahoma City Thunder should be excited about adding either of them to the roster when the 2022 NBA Draft takes place on June 23rd.