The Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the deepest and best young cores in the entire NBA. Many would argue they have the best abundance of young talent in the association. That stack of talent got deeper in the 2023 NBA Draft when Sam Presti traded up two slots to get Cason Wallace with the tenth pick out of the University of Kentucky.
Due to that trade, Cason Wallace was ineligible for NBA Summer League until the team transitioned to Vegas from Salt Lake City. Wallace only needed this four-game sprint to show why he will be an immediate fan favorite for the OKC Thunder.
The tenth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Cason Wallace, will be an instant fan favorite for the OKC Thunder.
Throughout the pre-draft process, I learned a rival front office was extremely confident that Cason Wallace would go in the top ten, and the OKC Thunder ended up making that happen on draft night. The Kentucky product spent a large chunk of his freshman season at Kentucky, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc while playing on-and-off the ball offensively and showing elite-level defensive play. Even while battling back spasms, the Dallas native showed he was worthy of a high-lottery pick.
The OKC Thunder have an embarrassingly deep young core from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren, along with some complimentary pieces that tie the group together. Cason Wallace will only need a short time to etch himself in that group and might even top the list for some fans in terms of popularity. On top of fitting into the Thunder culture off the court as a fun interview and social media presence, on the court, Cason Wallace embodies OKC Thunder basketball.
On top of the OKC Thunder 10th overall pick fitting into the role we will see him take in the Regular Season during this Summer League portion, the Kentucky guard has done a lot to steal the hearts of the heartland during these four games.
From fighting through screens, sticking his nose in the action to secure rebounds, earning steals, deflections, and spending the majority of time on the deck scrapping for possessions, those are all qualities that the OKC Thunder fanbase not only appreciates but embraces with their basketball player.
There is another former lottery pick that is immortalized in the rafters of the Paycom Center without an eye-popping back of the basketball card, just by playing his role and giving it all he had night in and night out.
Obviously, Nick Collison is a clunky comparison for Cason Wallace, but it just further proves that the effort, motor, and hard-nosed style will be greatly appreciated in Bricktown. It will not be lost in the 30-point nights from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey’s triple-doubles, or the infectious energy Jalen Williams surges through the Paycom Center with a rim-rattling jam.