3 OKC Thunder players who benefit from the 23 Draft class

Cason Wallace arrives prior to the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Cason Wallace arrives prior to the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /
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Finally! The 2023 NBA Draft has concluded. 58 different players have reached a checkpoint in chasing their hoop dreams of making the NBA, but this is just the beginning of their journeys. After months of prospect deep dives, breakdowns, articles, podcasts, and more, we finally know who will join the OKC Thunder in 2023-2024.

Which three current OKC Thunder players benefit the most from the additions or maybe lack thereof from the 2023 NBA Draft class?

Recapping the Draft:

Cason Wallace

Sam Presti added to his weapons arsenal on Thursday night. The OKC Thunder began the draft night sitting at 12 with all types of prospects mocked to go to Loud City. The Thunder could have sat on their hands for whoever fell to them at 12, but Presti and Co. weren’t satisfied with that and moved up to 10, trading with the Dallas Mavericks to get their guy.

The Thunder added Kentucky guard Cason Wallace into the mix and made him the 9th former Wildcat to play for the Thunder, including guys like Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Hamiduo Diallo, DeAndre Liggins, Nazr Mohammed, Nerlens Noel, Patrick Patterson, and Oklahoma native Daniel Orton.

Wallace is a defensive-minded guard who “has that dog in him” in an accurate way that makes him tough to deal with on both ends. According to Sam Presti, Cason Wallace plays “no agenda basketball,” makes all the tough plays, and does the dirty work most other players won’t bother with.

Standing at 6’2, 195 pounds, and a 6’8 wingspan, Wallace has very similar measurements to current OKC Thunder defensive ace Lu Dort. Cason Wallace is a combo guard who can play on or off the ball, but in most of his minutes with the Thunder, he will likely be playing off the ball to compliment Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jalen Williams.

Keyontae Johnson

Fast forward to the second round, and the Thunder’s number has been called again at 50. Just up the road in Manhattan, Keyontae Johnson was informed that he would join his favorite NBA team. Coming out of Kansas State as a 23-year-old, he won Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in his lone season for the Wildcats. Johnson’s path is a testament to his grit and determination.

The soon-to-be 2-way OKC Thunder guard/forward is most known for collapsing during an NCAA basketball game in 2020. Johnson was later put into a medically induced coma, but that didn’t stop him. He had the opportunity to take a $5 million insurance policy, but he declined, believing in himself and his dream of making the NBA.

Johnson may not be on the Thunder main roster to start the season. Still, if we know anything, it is that this 6’4 bowling ball scoring guard isn’t going to be deterred and will get his chance to fight for minutes on the big stage under Mark Daigneault, who is not afraid to explore his bench and give guys chances.