Jarace Walker seems like a perfect fit for the OKC Thunder

Jarace Walker #25 of the Houston Cougars. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jarace Walker #25 of the Houston Cougars. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Jarace Walker
Jarace Walker #25 of the Houston Cougars (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Jarace Walker was created for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s defense

Walker flashes a lot of defensive potential, showing elite skills in isolation. The Houston product can move his feet well and use his length to recover if the ball handler gets past him.

Through 20 isolation possessions, Synergy grades Walker in the 85th percentile, good enough for the “excellent” tab. In that setting, Walker gives up just 0.500 points per possession as opponents shoot 21 percent from the floor.

That is another area in which a potential prospect needs to thrive to play for Mark Daigneault, switchability on the defensive end, and Walker has it. Again, you will be hard-pressed to find many 6’8 240 pounders that do not terrify you to put them on an island on the perimeter, but Walker allows you to have supreme confidence in him no matter the situation he finds himself in on that end of the floor.

In a league dominated by the high pick-and-roll and devolves into hunting mismatches in the half-court in the postseason, finding a player that can not be played off the floor is critical, especially down low. Jarace Walker has no red flags in that category.

Synergy grades Walker as a good defender went tracking the roll man in the pick-and-roll, allowing just 0.769 points per possession while closing out on spot-up shooters at a high clip, only allowing 0.783 points per possession and a 30.6 percent field goal percentage in that area. Synergy grades Jarace Walker’s overall defense to be “excellent” for a good reason.

Imagine Jarace Walker sliding into this switch-everything system that Mark Daigneault has created with Jalen Williams, Lu Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and even the improved defense of Josh Giddey. At the same time, Chet Holmgren roams the back end like a free safety, playing help-side defense and swatting away a billion shots.