The 2022 NBA Draft is right around the corner and the OKC Thunder are working out numerous NBA Draft Prospects as the team holds the 2nd, 12th, 30th, and 34th selections in the June 23rd draft. As we get closer to that fateful day, the scuttlebutt will only increase as the NBA Finals shift to game five and begins to slow down.
One of the most interesting prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft is Shaedon Sharpe, the number one ranked high school player in the class of 2022 before he reclassified and enrolled at the University of Kentucky. The Canadian guard never played a game for the Wildcats and there are questions about how many practices he even attended in Lexington. Nonetheless, Sharpe is pegged as a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and seems to be sliding down draft boards. Once considered an option with the fourth overall pick it seems as though his range is more so 6-12 now with a lot still to change come draft night.
Shaedon Sharpe’s camp wants him to land with the OKC Thunder, is not worried about their draft slot, and praises the environment in OKC according to ESPN
Shaedon Sharpe is one of my favorite prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft, while there is risk involved with taking a player that has not played above a high school level yet, Sharpe has an offensive game that is desirable and despite his defensive red flags has the athletic ability and frame to be a solid defender if he is committed.
Sharpe is a 6’4 19-year-old playmaker with a huge athletic burst, great perimeter shooting with a jump shot that can lift over defenders as he showed fearless offensive ability as a three-level scorer, plus ball handler, and solid passing ability. He has star potential in a draft that does not have many prospects you can say that about despite the uncertainty around his awkward college stage.
On Saturday, ESPN released a shocking piece of info that sent waves around the OKC Thunder fanbase. Jonathan Givony released an article titled “Building the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Perfect 2022 NBA Draft” and had a surprising pick at 12, seeing Sharpe fall into Sam Presti’s lap.
Let’s start with the fact that in this scenario, OKC lands Chet Holmgren, Shaedon Sharpe, Jake LaRavia, and Khalifa Diop, while I have concerns about the last two picks I do not really care when you factor in the Thunder would hypothetically land two of my top five players in this draft.
How could this happen? If Sharpe falls out of the top five which would include some variation of Jabari Smith Jr, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and Keegan Murray, then things get interesting for OKC. With the 6th pick, is Sharpe a player that hard-nosed head coach Rick Carlisle is going to take a shot on with his reputation of not trusting young guards and thus not giving the Canadian guard a runway to develop? Portland and New Orleans are in win-now mode with the 7th and 8th picks, like the Pacers argument is Shaedon Sharpe a San Antonio guy? At this point, you are down to the 10th pick with Washington, a much easier leap up from 12 to go get a prospect Presti loves.
Givony said Sharpe’s camp “doesn’t sound overly concerned with where he is picked, preferring to take a long-term view in steering him to an advantageous development situation in which he can maximize his significant potential and become an All-Star, with the Thunder being at the top of their list.” the ESPN Insider went on to say “Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault looks like an ideal mentor for the young Sharpe at this stage of his career. [Mark] Daigneault has proven comfortable handing the reins over to highly touted talents while providing them with the structure and accountability needed to maximize. their development.”
Sharpe’s camp is on board with OKC, and no team is more familiar with Shaedon Sharpe than the OKC Thunder. The Kentucky product is not even holding competitive 3-on-3 workouts for every team picking in the top ten which can be viewed as a sign of him trying to leverage his way to a spot like OKC where he is more comfortable.