2022 NBA Draft: Fits for Top 3 Teams

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As the NBA draft lottery came to a close, the Orlando Magic struck gold and were awarded the first overall selection in the 2022 draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder pick second and the Houston Rockets pick third. Having first-round draft picks for rebuilding teams is a dream come true, as these prospects may be the help your franchise has needed. Today, we take a look at the best fits for the top three teams in the 2022 NBA draft.

Orlando Magic-Chet Holmgren

When you look at the Orlando Magic’s roster, you’ll notice that they’ve filled many of the gaps where they need the greatest support. Last year, they upgraded their guard and forward positions by picking Gonzaga shooting guard, Jalen Suggs, and Michigan small forward, Franz Wagner.

The year before, they drafted North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony. The biggest thing they are lacking is a rim protector to pair with Wendell Carter Jr. That is where Gonzaga center, Chet Holmgren. The former Bulldog averaged nearly four blocks per game and can also hit a jumper when necessary.

Prepare for excitement at the Amway Center when you reunite him with his former AAU teammate Suggs. Orlando has a great history when it comes to drafting big men number one overall, and Holmgren could be the next player on that list.

Oklahoma City Thunder- Paolo Banchero

If you look at the Thunder roster; it’s overflowing with young, hungry talent, such as Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Josh Giddey. The two form a young, skilled backcourt combo for Oklahoma City. Because they want a fast-space offensive style, Paolo Banchero, who is speedy, should be a player to watch at second overall. When combined with their young core, the former Blue Devil will generate highlight reel-level offense.

He would quickly fit in with the youthful nucleus, forming a starting five capable of developing into one of the top teams in the league. Banchero could demonstrate his full versatility on a team like the Thunder.

Houston Rockets- Jabari Smith

When it comes to acquiring talent, the Houston Rockets have hit gold. They acquired the uber-talented Kevin Porter Jr. through trade, drafted shooting guard Jalen Green, and signed Christian Wood two years ago. While their team is nearly complete, they are missing one piece to complete the full rebuild.

The primary concern with their roster is the power forward position. Auburn’s Jabari Smith is the solution to those issues, bringing size, scoring, and rebounding skills.

Combining him with Woods will open up the offense and offer a variety of opportunities. Not only can he stretch the floor, but he can also drive to the hoop for a layup or a posterizing dunk. Fans will be jumping out of their seats in the Toyota Center if he is picked in June.

Thunder vs Bucks: Post game report

What can the Oklahoma City Thunder take away from a hard loss vs the Milwaukee Bucks?

Thunder vs Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks had no real trouble beating the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night, beating them 130-110. Don’t fear Thunder fans, there were some positives vs the Bucks as well! We’ll break them down here — along with the not so positive. 

Luguentz Dort is the best shooter in NBA history

Ok, I’m kidding obviously. Dort had a great showing offensively tonight much like he did against the Rockets during Game 7 in 2020. Dort started the game going 4/4 from three, and finished 4-6 from three with 19 points on a total 7-11 from the field. Luguentz has vastly improved offensively since entering the NBA, and he still has more untapped potential — which to the rest of the NBA should be as terrifying as being chased by Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, and Leatherface all at the same time. 

Josh Giddey all around game

If you asked me what I expected a Josh Giddey statline to look like, I would say something close to what Giddey put up tonight. Josh struggled a little from the field going 3-9, but he did finish with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists. I definitely expect the rookie to get a triple double this season if he can stay healthy. 

Scary Pokusevski

We knew when the Thunder drafted Poku that development would take time. His performance on Sunday night has to give the fans and Oklahoma City front office cause for concern, however. Pokusevski posted two points on 1-6 from the field, and looked completely lost at times. This is not the time to give up on young Poku though, as he is still just that, very young. But this was in way a positive performance. 

Defense

We knew coming into the season the Thunder would struggle on defense at times. Milwaukee showed everyone just how bad it could possibly be / get. The Bucks went an astounding 54% from the field, and 54% from three. That is just brutal. Milwaukee scored 50 of their 130 points in the paint highlighting just how desperate the Thunder are for post length. Hopefully getting Derrick Favors back soon will remedy that if even little.

In closing

The Oklahoma City Thunder are what we thought they were. A young team that would struggle mightily on the defensive end but has potential to be very fun to watch on the offensive end (even though the final numbers say otherwise). The Thunder need to put this loss vs the Bucks behind them as they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night at 8 pm EST. A game I assume will be available to watch on the Thunder website.

Thunder vs Bucks: Preseason Preview

thunder vs bucks

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be back in action this coming Sunday as they travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for an intriguing matchup vs the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Thunder most likely will not have to play against the majority of the starting lineup that won the NBA Championship last year as the Bucks are choosing to be precautious with Giannis Antetokoumpo , Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Jrue Holiday, and Rodney Hood. Here are my projected starters for each respective team, and a preview of what to expect from Thunder vs Bucks. 

Bucks

Point guard- George Hill

Shooting guard- Grayson Allen 

Small forward- Jordan Nwora 

Power forward- Thanasis Antetokoumpo

Center- Brook Lopez

Thunder

Point guard- Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Shooting guard- Josh Giddey 

Small forward- Luguentz Dort

Power forward- Darius Bazley 

Center- Isaiah Roby

In their last game against the Hornets the Thunder had a difficult time scoring the ball, going 38% from the field, and 31% from three. I don’t believe they are that bad of an offensive team, so I do look for a bounce back game here. On the flip side, the Hornets went 49% from the field and 27% from three. Oklahoma City did a good job it seems on defending the perimeter, but struggled guarding in all other situations. As predicted, the Thunder were putrid in the paint on defense, giving up 62 of Charlotte’s 113 points in the paint. That will most likely carry over and be a huge storyline throughout  the season. 

And in their last game against the Memphis Grizzlies the Bucks struggled on the offensive end without their veteran leaders, going 41% from the field and 28% from three. This game on Sunday does have the potential to get ugly offensively. Oklahoma City would probably prefer for it to. On defense, Milwaukee gave up 46% from the field, and 31% from three to the Grizzlies.

As mentioned earlier, this has the potential to be an ugly game that could go down to the final buzzer. I do expect the Bucks to exploit the Thunder’s weakness in the paint, and I predict Milwaukee pulls off the win.

Oklahoma City Thunder 88 | Milwaukee Bucks 104

Charlotte Hornets vs Oklahoma City Thunder: Post game report

Charlotte Hornets vs Oklahoma City Thunder

The Charlotte Hornets got the best of a young Thunder team on Monday night in the Paycom Center. Here are some key takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets vs Oklahoma City Thunder.

Josh Giddey is the real deal- 

Look, I know it was only a preseason exhibition, but the way Giddey played with pace and let the game come to him was reminiscent of a veteran, not a rookie who has yet to play any regular season basketball. His ability to break down the defense and get to the rim in both the transition and half court game showed potential to be very effective in getting the Thunder some easy looks. He showed above average court vision with cross court skip passes, drop offs, etc. Giddey finished the game with 

The Thunder will be a fun team to watch-

Let me preface this by saying the Thunder aren’t likely to win many games this year. They are very young, and lack post depth. But the Thunder will be a fun team to watch. That much was evident in this game even during what technically was a blowout loss. Between Giddey in transition breaking ankles and dishing dimes, Lu Dort knocking down threes and posterizing defenders, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with his crafty shooting and finishing, the Thunder will have multiple opportunities to put together some highlight reels for years to come. Even in defeat, this will be a fun team. Mark my words. 

Long way to go-

As I briefly mentioned and referenced in the prior section of this “post game report” there is a long way to go until the Thunder are winning a lot of games and are competing for championships. They are young, and it shows. Aleksej Pokusevski still isn’t sure how to finish in the NBA and still makes some rookie mistakes on his passes. Josh Giddey still isn’t where he needs to be as far as shooting the ball, and the defense is pretty much nonexistent outside at times. But don’t fret, there’s still plenty of time for improvement. 

Other notes-

This was just the first of four preseason games for the Thunder, their next bout is this Sunday, October 10th at 7:30 pm ET, and will be televised on ESPN as the Thunder travel to Milwaukee to take on the defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ll see if any lessons were learned from the Charlotte Hornets vs Oklahoma City Thunder game.

Prediction: SGA earns big honor this NBA Season

As we get closer to the NBA season it’s about time that we make predictions about our teams, and how their season will go. I will make a full record prediction later, but right now I want to discuss Shai Gilgeous Alexander and why I think this could potentially be a BIG season for him.

His rookie year for the Clippers SGA averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.8 Rebounds, and 3.3 assist. His first year with the Thunder he averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.9 Rebounds, and 3.3 assist. And finally, last year he jumped up to 23.7 PPG, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assist ; all while shooting 50% from the field and 41% from three. 

If his trend of rising points per game each year continues, and I believe it will if Josh Giddey plays well enough to allow the Thunder to move SGA more off the ball and allow him to focus more on scoring than facilitating. We could potentially see 25 PPG from SGA which would be huge. 

Now, it will be tough given that the Thunder most likely will not have that great of a record, but my prediction for SGA is not just a rise in his scoring, but I predict that Shai will receive his very first nomination as an NBA All Star. His first of what I believe will be many in his career.