Jalen Williams, no. 12 pick, 2022 NBA Draft
J-Dub is the latest name on the long list of draft selections in late lottery that OKC absolutely nailed. After three years in Santa Clara, Williams was not even projected to be a lottery pick on draft day. Yet, the Thunder reached for Williams with the 12th pick, and boy, did he deliver.
Williams was the second-best rookie last season after the no.1 overall pick, Paolo Banchero. He was the second-best player on the Thunder team as well, averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He was one of the leading factors as to why the Thunder was one of the biggest surprise teams in the NBA, unexpectedly making the play-in tournament.
Williams is not only a wonderful pick-and-roll operator and scorer, but he is also a very good defender for his age. He was perhaps the best two-way rookie and was a unanimous selection on the All-Rookie First Team. Just imagine how different the Wizards’ outlook would be if they had drafted Williams over Johnny Davis with the no. 10 pick.
That is the difference drafting makes. It can make or break your franchise. If Dawkins, along with Winger and Travis Schlenk bring the same level of drafting ability they have shown elsewhere, things are about to start looking up in Washington.