Despite the Oklahoma City Thunder potentially having an impressive young trio of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren next season, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has heard some teams believe the Thunder will stay committed to tanking next season for a chance to get Victor Wembanyama in his recent article.
“There are so many variables over the course of a year, and tanking is a demonstrably imperfect strategy. Finishing with the best odds ensures nothing. Committing to that process requires lottery luck and patient ownership, and most organizations can rely on neither. Oklahoma City’s current project seems the obvious exception to the rule, and rival teams already expect the Thunder will remain pot-committed to not being very good, at least for one more season, to ensure entry in the Wembanyama sweepstakes.”
Wembanyama is being billed as a generational prospect and the heavy favorite to go first overall in the 2023 NBA draft, so the Thunder having to stomach one more rebuilding season would be worth it if they can draft him. The only problem is that tanking and having one of the worst records in the league is easier said than done for the Thunder — especially next season if the young trio previously mentioned stays relatively healthy.
If the Thunder get extremely lucky once again next lottery and land the first overall pick, then a core of Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey, Holmgren and Wembanyama is salivating enough to make the rebuild worth it.
2022 NBA mock drafts: Oklahoma City Thunder post-combine draft projections