2022 NBA Lottery Picks Revealed
By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter | okcthunder.com
Thirteen years have passed since the Thunder last selected in the top five in the NBA draft. Since then, 80 percent of the league has had at least one selection in the top five and 50 percent have picked twice in the top five. During the Draft Lottery on Tuesday night in Chicago, the Thunder received the number two overall pick in June’s draft – the organization’s first top five pick since 2009.
The Thunder walked away from the league’s game of chance with two lottery selections including the 12th pick via the Clippers. In addition to its own second round pick and a late first-rounder via trade from the Phoenix Suns, the Thunder’s total cache of picks for the 2022 NBA Draft consists of selections at 2, 12, 30 and 34.
Former Thunder player and current front office member Nick Collison represented the Thunder on stage during the lottery. Though it was Collison’s first time attending the lottery, the 14-year NBA veteran spent a decade as a player in Oklahoma City and significant time within the front office which means he knows exactly what the moment means for the organization and the fans.
“Happy for the fans. Happy for the city. It’s exciting. Happy for the people in the organization,” said Collison. “Obviously you want to pick as high as possible, so it’s exciting for us to get 2. The work for us in the front office will just continue.”
While the team’s two picks in the top 12 and four in the top 34 are unprecedented in Oklahoma City’s history, it’s the clarity that the organization had been itching for. Now that the Thunder has the clear cut information on where it will be picking, the attention now turns to its pre-draft process. That process consists of countless hours of evaluation, numerous workouts and interviews with prospects while also leaning on its team of scouts working tirelessly across the globe locating and identifying talent leading up to the draft in Brooklyn on June 23.
“It's a three-step process. One, you have to find out where you're selecting. Two, you have to make a selection; and three, you have to help develop the player and create an environment for the player,” said Thunder general manager and executive vice president Sam Presti in his pre-lottery press conference.
“Tonight is just the first step of that process for us, which is getting clarity on where we're going to be selecting.”
While the spectacle of the draft and the thrill of the lottery are two coveted events in the NBA calendar and hold significant value for the future of teams and organizations, they are just two of the countless opportunities and touchpoints for the Thunder to develop and improve as a team throughout the season. It’s why back in Oklahoma City, a large portion of the Thunder’s current roster has been in the gym during the offseason working toward their individual growth and development for next season.
“I'm really encouraged by that, as I've said before, at the end of the season a lot of the improvement from our team is going to be coming from inside of our current building and maybe not so much from what happens tonight or in the draft, but I couldn't be more proud of the effort that the guys are showing right now,” said Presti.
In the eyes of the Thunder, the outcome of the lottery is out of its control, but its response to the outcome is what determines its future. For Oklahoma City, regardless of the outcome, the response has always been to roll up its sleeves and get to work.
“As long as we're continuing to operate with the principles of discipline, rationality and persistence, I really think good things are going to happen for us as an organization,” said Presti.