Hidden Gems: Ismael Kamagate Adapts to the Modern Mold
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a glaring hole at center position as they enter the third season of their rebuild. As such, it would make sense for them to take a center with one of their four picks in next month’s draft.
After Jalen Duren, which should be taken in the lottery, there is no consensus on the second-best center. Because of this, there are a handful of big ones that could end up being stolen depending on where they are taken.
Among the international centers, Ishmael Kamagate might be the most interesting. He hasn’t shown the ability to be a consistent prospect, but the flashes are extremely promising. Standing at 6ft 11in, the French center is a tall athlete who fits the mold of a modern great.
Possibly the best international center in this class, Kamagate has a ton of advantages. He lacks creativity at this point in his career, but has the physical frame to make an impact in the NBA. At 21, Kamagate isn’t as young as many of his peers in the class, but that shouldn’t be a reason to rebuild teams to avoid him in the upcoming draft.
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With the No. 34 overall pick, Kamagate could be a quality pick for Oklahoma City. He’s not a great rebounder at this point, but makes up for it with his mobility and athleticism. These traits make him an elite rim protector who can really change an opposing team’s offensive game plan. He also has a body that is NBA ready and would likely be an opening day starter at Thunder center.
Kamagate still has a lot to improve on to be a top-tier contributor, but he has the tools to be as good as almost any center in the 2022 NBA Draft.