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NBA Draft Lottery Heating Up

Yesterday the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets made a trade that sent forward JaMychal Green to the Thunder along with a future 1st-round pick in exchange for the #30 pick in this year's draft and two future 2nd-round picks. The acquisition of Green will add to an already potential-filled roster in Oklahoma City, a team who still has three picks in the top-35 come June 23rd. While the Nuggets seem to be in the market for another superstar to pair with the back-to-back reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

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The Nuggets finished this year with a 48-34 record and were eliminated in the first round by the Golden Sate Warriors. After crowning Jokic as MVP for a second year in a row and last year's trip to the second round of the playoffs, this year must be seen as a step in the wrong direction for the Nuggets. It is speculated that the reason for acquiring another first-round pick this year is to add to an already championship-level roster with a superstar. Several superstars are rumored to be made available around the league such as Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal, both of whom would make an excellent fit for this Denver roster. With the draft only eight days away this trade will have to be made quickly.

On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder have seemingly extended their rebuild with an additional first-round pick in 2027 to add to their long list of future picks. The Thunder have been acquiring picks for two years now and have started their rebuild with the likes of Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski and Josh Giddey, while also trading for Shai Gildeous-Alexander, all of whom are under the age of 24. With more future talent sure to join the team after the draft this year with their picks of #2, #12 and #34. The addition of JaMychal Green will also give their young forwards another mentor role from a player who has been around the league and can offer the team physicality and talent now, both of which will prepare the rising stars for their futures.

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This trade helps both teams with their current window of opportunity. The Nuggets are in win now mode with their stars of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon all entering or currently in their prime ages. The Thunder know they won't be championship-competitive for another two years and are building a case for one of the most talented rosters with a median age under 26.

With the draft happening on June 23rd at 8 p.m. EST, we will likely see the Nuggets make a trade any day now to assure their starting lineup for next season. The Thunder will likely take Gonzaga Center Chet Holmgren with their #2 selection after Jabari Smith likely goes #1 to the Magic. Who the Thunder are eyeing with #12 or if they plan to use this pick to trade up or down or for another year's draft is up for grabs as they can do any of the above in their current rebuild-status.

Watch out for more trades in the coming days as well as it is rumoured ever lottery pick is up for grabs as team's are willing to move into top-10 territory or move out of the draft all together. With several huge names we haven't mentioned like Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell amongst others possibly on their way out of their current teams and the way NBA player turnover has been over the last five seasons, anything can happen from here to draft night.

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Make sure to stay tuned as we follow the path to the 2022 NBA Draft and offseason until the 2023 NBA season starts.


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