2024 NBA Mock Draft: OKC Thunder Selects Duke Blue Devils Star

Could the OKC Thunder land the Duke basketball star center to add size?
Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) controls the ball against North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Mohamed Diarra (23) in the second half in the finals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airline Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) controls the ball against North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Mohamed Diarra (23) in the second half in the finals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airline Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder aren't using the No. 12 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft to address any necessities or needs. The team went 57-25 and was the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. To claim they need to add a player ready to help the team win immediately or banking on the selection to patch any holes is ignoring the situation at hand.

The Thunder can afford to miss on the pick. They can gamble. And they'll still be fine. Either way, there has been a wide variety of mocked selections for the Thunder ahead of the draft. In No Ceilings' recent 2024 NBA Mock Draft, the Thunder selects Duke star big man Kyle Filipowski.

It’s hard to find anything that constitutes a “need” for the Oklahoma City Thunder," No Ceilings wrote. "Still, if there’s one area of the roster that was arguably a bit thin last season, it was the big man rotation. Sam Presti has also shown a preference in recent years for drafting high-feel players who can create for themselves or others with the ball in their hands, shoot, and make the right passing reads. Duke 7-footer Kyle Filipowski checks all of those boxes."

Evidently, Filipowski had an impressive two seasons with Duke, though he was never fully maximized and his true versatility wasn't put on display on a consistent basis. Having started each of the 72 games as a Blue Devil, Filipowski averaged 15.8 career points in college basketball.

"He can play alongside Chet Holmgren in a twin towers setup without OKC having to sacrifice any sort of offensive skill. Filipowski isn’t someone you want switching constantly on the perimeter, but he’s pretty effective defensively around the basket and can switch onto wings in a pinch without getting roasted," No Ceilings continued.

With Jaylin Williams on the roster heading into his third season, the team has an option as a backup center. Filipowski adds size and keeps versatility, though, with real potential help on the boards. It would be a bit of a gamble of a pick in terms of fit and all, but, again, the Thunder can afford to do such.

"He’s also taken huge strides forward as a shot-blocker, which makes it easier to imagine him filling in at center whenever Holmgren sits. There might be flashier players on the board, but Filipowski can fill a few gaps for the Thunder without really taking anything off the table," No Ceilings wrote.

Filipowski remains an intriguing option for the Thunder, should they decide to draft a big man, but there's set to be quite a range of talents available at pick No. 12, should they want to add floor spacing from a guard, versatility from a wing or size from a big. Win-now and high-upside options will both be available.


READ MORE: Ideal Fits for OKC if the Thunder Elect to Trade Down on Draft Night

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Kade Kimble

KADE KIMBLE

Kade is a Strategic Communications student at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He's been covering the Oklahoma City Thunder since the 2019-20 season.