Jarace Walker could tie the core together for the OKC Thunder if the team is able to trade up in the 2023 NBA Draft.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are picking at 12, which barring some unexpected disaster, Jarace Walker will be long gone by then. In order for Sam Presti to acquire the Houston product, he would need to trade up the NBA Draft board.
It is tough to see Walker making it past Indiana with the seventh pick, but he surely will not fall much further than that. He is a difference-maker, especially on the defensive end of the floor. At the same time, his offense shows a ton of potential.
Jarace Walker played 36 games as a freshman on his way to 11 points, nearly seven rebounds, and two assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the floor, 34 percent from beyond the arc, and 66 percent at the free throw line.
Walker ranks in the 63rd percentile in overall offense, 88th percentile in transition offense, and 73rd percentile as a cutter producing 1.315 points per possession. As a short-rolling cutter who thrives in the dunker spot, it is easy to see Walker putting pressure on the rim at the next level.
While his production shooting the ball was not horrible, there is room to improve. Jarace Walker shot 37 percent on catch-and-shoot looks, 41 percent on unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts, and a lowly 30 percent on off-the-dribble jumpers. But at the rim, Walker was one of the best in the country, shooting 66 percent.
Defensively, Walker ranks in the 89th percentile in overall defense, 83rd percentile in isolation defense, and 80th percentile as a post-up defender. Mix that with his ability to cover the pick-and-roll and close out on jumpers, and you quickly see why Walker is one of the top defensive weapons in the draft.
Between his positional and defensive versatility, elite athleticism, and turning defense-into-offense mentality, Walker would be the perfect bow to place on the OKC Thunder core.