The Lottery is coming.

A statement that when you say it with no context, it doesn’t really provide the amount of gravity that the actual situation calls for.

BUT, if you say it like Ned Stark would say “Winter is coming”, then you start to really real it.

The Lottery is coming.

Yes, it is coming quickly. At the time of this writing, and the time it is most likely published we will be within two weeks from the fateful day. The day where all of our hopes and dreams rely on the bounces of a combination of ping pong balls.

As it stands, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the 4th best lottery odds. Meaning that we could get as high as the #1 pick, but could fall as far as the #8 pick. We also however have the Clippers unprotected pick, which thanks to our friends in New Orleans is at the 12th best lottery odds (it would’ve been 15th best if they best the Pelicans). Which means that pick has a 7.2% chance to jump into the top 4 (shoutout Lloyd Christmas) and a *checks math* 92.8% chance that its pick 12-14.

So, since there is quite a lot of different ways that this could play out. I figured I should do what every Thunder fan has done at least 30 times a day since the season ended; visit

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic actually inspired this idea, and I thought it would be fun considering our pick has more variance, AND we have an additional lottery pick.

So without further ado, lets get it.

Spin 1: 2 and 13

This one is a bit of a catch-22, while our pick does move up 2 spots to 2, the Clippers pick drops from 12 to 13. Nevertheless, the objective in this draft is to obtain top end talent. Sure, you can find that in the end of the lottery but customarily it is in the top 3.

Portland Trailblazers: Paolo Banchero

Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren

I went back and fourth on this scenario for a while now, both on this article and in my daily life. There is a real temptation to take Jabari Smith Jr. here, he immediately provides a need with his shooting, and gives you flexibility on defense. But no matter how you shake it, Chet seems like the guy here. Flashing passing, shooting, handling, rebounding at Gonzaga all while being an ELITE rim protector at Gonzaga, Chet gives you versatility on both ends of the floor. He contains and immense amount of skill on the offensive end, while also boasting a high basketball IQ. Chet may not make the Thunder playoff contenders year 1, but he puts them in the right direction.

Sacremento Kings: Jaden Ivey

Charlotte Hornets: Jabari Smith Jr.

Houston Rockets: AJ Griffin Jr.

Detroit Pistons: Shaedon Sharpe

Indiana Pacers: Keegan Murray

New Orleans Pelicans: Jeremy Sochan

San Antonio Spurs: Jalen Duren

Washington Wizards: Mark Williams

New Yorks Knicks: Benedict Mathurin

Oklahoma City Thunder: Dyson Daniels

Its very possible Dyson goes earlier than this, he is one of the highest risers on draft boards this year. He started his G League Ignite season at 6’5″, and a terrible shooting percentage. He finished the season shooting 45% from 3 in his last 9 games, and had a 3 inch growth spurt (!!!) to make him 6’8″. Add all that to the fact that many scouts believe him to be the best perimeter defender in this draft, he is believed to be one of the best playmakers in this draft class, he has a high basketball IQ, AND HE’S AUSTRALIAN. If Dyson is there at 13, I have a hard time thinking that the Thunder would pass him up.

Spin 2: 1 and 12

IT HAPPENED! Sam Presti finally has the opportunity to pick #1 in the NBA Draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren

As I said before, I just think that barring something crazy happening, Chet is going to be at the top of the Thunders draft board.

Magic: Jabari Smith Jr.

Pacers: Jaden Ivey

Blazers: Paolo Banchero

Rockets: AJ Griffin Jr.

Pistons: Shaedon Sharpe

Kings: Keegan Murray

Pelicans: Jeremy Sochan

Spurs: Jalen Duren

Wizards: Mark Williams

Knicks: Benedict Mathurin

Oklahoma City Thunder: Dyson Daniels

Here’s hoping we get a crazy next spin, Chet and Dyson just feel like Thunder players.

Spin 3: 4 and 12

Bad news? Our pick stays where it was. Good news? I don’t have to pick Chet again.

Rockets: Paolo Banchero

Pistons: Chet Holmgren

Pacers: Jabari Smith Jr.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Shaedon Sharpe

With Sharpe you’re on one side of the fence, or the other. You’re either 10000% on board with him, think that he is HIM, and think that he should be a Thunder; or you think that its asinine to consider taking someone who hasn’t played competitive basketball in over a calendar year so high. Well, I can’t tell you that either side is inherently wrong. Sharpe is a mystery, and that’s part of what makes him so intriguing. In his time at the Peach Jam when his stock really started to rise, he showcased what makes people think he can be a star. Scoring with ease; shooting off the catch, off dribble, off movement. Getting to the lane with ease, finishing with both finesse and ferocity with either hand. Exploding into the passing lanes, detonating at the rim on both sides of the ball. All while showcasing a smoothness to his game, similar to that of Paul George. There is precedent for teams taking guys right out of high school, and there is precedent for the Thunder to take someone who hasn’t played in over a year. While Jaden Ivey feels like the safer pick, he is anything but a fit on this team with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and last years #6 pick in Josh Giddey. Sharpe is a theoretical fit, but ill take that over a questionable fit.

Magic: Jaden Ivey

Blazers: AJ Griffin

Kings: Keegan Murray

Pelicans: Dyson Daniels (lets switch it up, the fit makes sense)

Spurs: Jeremy Sochan

Wizards: Jalen Duren

Knicks: Benedict Mathurin

Oklahoma City Thunder: Mark Williams

The Thunder rans lineups this year with centers such as Mike Muscala, Derrick Favors, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Isaiah Roby, Olivier Sarr, and more of a conglomeration of players that don’t really fit what you need at the 5 spot in todays NBA. Williams boasts a 7’0″ frame with a staggering 7’7″ wingspan, and was the defensive anchor for the Duke Blue Devils during their Final 4 run. What he provides fits both what the Thunder look for, and a functional fit. First the Thunder look for guys who have a high basketball IQ, which Williams does particularly on the defensive end. He can altar, contest, and block shots with both hands and is a force in the paint. On the other hand, the Thunder lacked a true big man presence offensively to crash the boards and put pressure on the rim vertically; Williams would provide an excellent finisher inside and in the pick and roll with our guards finishing 72% of his shots his sophomore year at Duke.

Spin 4: 8 and 13

*sigh* The good times have been rolling with the first 3 spins, but this spin is a reality check. As good as it can be, it can (and has) swing the other way. But, when life gives you lemons squirt them in the eyes of your enemies right?

Blazers: Paolo Banchero

Pelicans: Jabari Smith Jr.

Pacers: Jaden Ivey

Hornets: Chet Holgren

Rockets: AJ Griffin Jr.

Magic: Shaedon Sharpe

Pistons: Keegan Murray

Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Duren

If it were up to me, I would probably take Dyson Daniels or Benedict Mathurin here. But given the bad luck, there is value here and I think that Presti would look to capitalize on it here and take a swing later. Duren is an absolute unit at 6’11”, 250 lbs of marble and granite. He has a 7’5″ wingspan, and has a *supposed* vertical jump of 42.5 inches. The fit is seamless, he is a beast of a man that will fight and compete for boards, protect the rim on one end, run the floor, and absolutely dominate in the pick and roll with Shai and Giddey. Falling to 8 sucks, there is no 2 ways about it. But if you were able to walk away with Jalen Duren at 8, you would have to be ecstatic.

Kings: Dyson Daniels

Spurs: Jeremy Sochan

Wizards: Mark Williams

Knicks: Benedict Mathurin

Oklahoma City Thunder: Patrick Baldwin Jr.

As I mentioned above, when your pick falls you go for value. Now is where you take a swing, and I can absolutely see Presti doing this. PBJ, was widely considered to be a top 5 pick before the start of the the NCAA season. Attending the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin where his dad coached instead of the many blue blood schools recruiting him was both admirable and confusing. It turned out about as bad as you could hope, and while he has entered the draft, he has also entered the NCAA transfer portal. At 6’10” PBJ has something that you just don’t see very often, the epitome of a knockdown shooter. No, his stats weren’t pretty at UMW, but if you watch his game on film you can see why he struggled the way he did and why he has so much promise at the same time. This would likely be considered a reach, like Ziaire Williams was at #10 last year (another top prospect that struggled at college), and he is now a key piece of the rotation with the 2 seeded Grizzlies. You know who else was considered a reach? Josh Giddey. You know who picked him? Sam Presti. I’m just saying.

Spin 5: 3 and 8

Going out with a bang like it’s a Michael Bay movie. Ironically enough, its actually the Clippers pick that jumped to 3 while ours fell to 8. If this happened on lottery night, I would lose my mind. Lets dive into the mock…. one last time.

Kings: Jabari Smith Jr. (although I’m tempted to put someone like Kendall Brown here because, you know Kings gonna Kings)

Wizards: Chet Holmgren

Oklahoma City Thunder: Paolo Banchero

I’m pretty sad I didn’t get to wax poetic on Jabari, but I like Paolo A LOT. At the time of this writing he is currently #1 on my personal big board. This guy is ready to contribute, right the freak now. He is a 3 level scorer; has the strength to finish inside, has the craft and touch to finish in the mid range and out of the post, and he has the feel and bag to finish from deep. Dude isn’t just a scorer though, he might be one of the most underrated passers in this draft. It was on full display in the closing weeks of Dukes season, lacking a true point guard the Blue Devils relied heavily on Paolo to create not only for himself, but his teammates as well. I’m not as worried about his defense as others because I think he has the tools to be at the very least an above average defender; also we know from this year specifically that if he wants to get on the court he is going to have the buy into the defensive end as much as the offensive end, just ask Tre Mann right coach? He would add to the many playmakers the Thunder have making them that much more dangerous in the half court, and I think would fit seamlessly with his Thunder team.

Spurs: Keegan Murray

Rockets: Jaden Ivey

Magic: Shaedon Sharpe

Pistons: AJ Griffin Jr.

Thunder: Benedict Mathurin

While it’s possible we go Dyson Daniels, or Jalen Duren as I mentioned before there is really a lot of flexibility after 7. For the sake of giving you someone else to think about I gotta go with Mathurin. The thing I love the most about Math is this man is an absolute dog on both ends of the court. At 6’6″, 210 lbs, with a 6’9″ wingspan he is a true wing that gets up and down the court, and has a game reminiscent of a young Russel Westbrook. He doesn’t have super tight handle, but he can still create enough space to get his shot off. He has explosive athleticism, and absolutely destroys the rim on a straight line drive. He has all the tools, but one of the things that make him a good fit here I think is his ability to play off ball. Playing with one of the best playmakers in the country in Dalen Terry, Mathurin was able to run through, off, and around screens to get the ball in space and is a gifted slasher, marking sharp, smart cuts to get himself open heading to the rim. His game also kinda reminds me of a super charged Aaron Wiggins, with loads more upside. I think playing alongside passers like Shai, Giddey, and in this case Paolo could really open up a lot of scoring opportunities for him.

Well that was a blast for me, I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did. It just goes to show you, there is a wide variety of possibilities in the upcoming lottery. But, we have two lottery picks which gives you flexibility to get weird, find value late, or take chances. The most important thing to remember is we have one of the best GM’s in the game, and when it comes to the top of the draft he has an impeccable track record.

Whatever happens on May 17th, Trust the Presti.

See you on the other side, Thunder Up!