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Top prospect Paolo Banchero rips the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of NBA Draft

Vincent Frank

Former Duke forward Paolo Banchero is slated to be one of the top-three picks off the board when the 2022 NBA Draft gets going late next month.

Perhaps, the talented youngster is sending a message to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that’s slated to pick second overall. Don’t take me.

“I grew up with the Sonics a little bit, I was like 6 I think when they left, so I never liked the Thunder.”

Paolo Banchero on the Oklahoma City Thunder

Well, that’s a rather interesting thing to say a few weeks before the draft. A native of Seattle, Banchero grew up at a time when the then-Seattle Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City and rebranded as the Thunder. Certainly, there’s still some hard feelings here.

Related: Ideal Paolo Banchero landing spots in the 2022 NBA Draft

Paolo Banchero likely to land with the Houston Rockets

paolo banchero blasts oklahoma city thunder, 2022 nba draft
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren are considered the consensus top two prospects in the draft. Recent reports suggest that most teams believe the Orlando Magic will select Smith No. 1 overall, leading to Holmgren heading to Oklahoma City to play for the Thunder.

That means the Rockets at No. 3 will likely run to the podium to select Banchero with the third selection.

  • Paolo Banchero stats (2021-22): 17.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 48% shooting, 34% 3-point

The 6-foot-10 forward would be an absolutely great fit with young guard Jalen Green in Houston, helping the team expedite what seems to be a long-term rebuild.

There’s a darn good chance that Banchero sees that and is angling for the Rockets. Then again, OKC has two stud young players of its own in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. He just might not like the organization. It could be that simple.