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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Clemente Almanza

Rick Carlisle: Thunder wanted to draft Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard

During practice on Wednesday, Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle revealed an interesting bit of intel related to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When asked about rookie guard Andrew Nembhard, Carlisle revealed that the Thunder were the other big competitors to draft him during the 2022 NBA draft.

“Andrew Nembhard was a guy that Kevin (Pritchard) had been talking about all year last year as a guy he liked. He played one of the two days in Chicago at the pre-draft camp and played well. Then, it was just a matter of getting lucky and having him be there at 31 because I think Oklahoma was at 32 and I think Sam Presti told me that they were going to take him at 32 if we hadn’t taken him at 31. A lot of things fell into place.”

While Carlisle misspoke a bit as the Thunder owned the No. 34 pick instead of the No. 32 pick in this past draft, this is the first time it’s been noted that they had interest in Nembhard, who is enjoying a phenomenal rookie campaign.

In 45 games, the 23-year-old is averaging 8.5 points on 42.8 percent shooting, four assists and 2.9 rebounds.

While Jaylin Williams — the player the Thunder selected at No. 34 — has had a decent rookie campaign, adding a steal in Nembhard to go along with Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams would’ve made this already good draft class to a great one.

Alas, that’s how the draft process goes. Such a volatile process makes misses/close calls like Nembhard an inherent part of it.

The full video can be watched below:

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