NBA Draft: Grading every first-round pick after rookie year

2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /
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NBA Draft
Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jalen Williams, Santa Clara

The Thunder made two bets on players in the 2022 NBA Draft who rose up draft boards quickly, and they appear to have gone 1-for-2. In Ousmane Dieng, they drafted a player oozing in potential but still years away, and in Jalen Williams, they drafted a player who stepped onto an NBA court and produced immediately.

Williams has elite measurements, standing 6’6″ with a 7’2″ wingspan, which helps him defensively and is a tool he uses to score inside, going up and around opposing defenders. Over the course of the season, he developed into a plus starter for a team in the Play-In mix. He can score from all three levels, was a solid passer and top-notch decision-maker.

At this point, it would be a surprise if Jalen Williams wasn’t a future All-Star. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander an All-NBA player, and both Josh Giddey and Chet Homgren boasting top-flight upside, the Thunder appear to have a truly elite core of young talent to build a contender out of. Williams would go second overall if the draft was done again, putting egg on a lot of faces and making him the best value from the 2022 first round.

Grade: A+