NBA Draft: ESPN Breaks Down OKC Thunder's No. 12 Pick Based On Fit And Value

What is the best value the Oklahoma City Thunder can get with pick No. 12 in the NBA Draft?
Nikola Topic
Nikola Topic / FIBA.Com
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The Oklahoma City Thunder has been strong in drafting late in the lottery as of recent, selecting Jalen Williams with pick No. 12 in the 2022 NBA Draft, followed by taking Cason Wallace with pick No. 10 in the 2023 NBA Draft. 

Both of the two aforementioned players were real contributors in the team’s most recent playoff run, which ended in the second round at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks – who are now playing in the NBA Finals.

With the No. 12 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, courtesy of the Houston Rockets, Thunder general manager Sam Presti has the opportunity to find strong value late in the lottery once again. There’s set to be plenty of options for the team, as they can go a variety of routes and walk away from the draft as a winner.

ESPN recently released a unique mock draft, looking at a player that best suits the team’s need and another that suits the team’s best value for their pick. For the Thunder, the player for each need and best value happens to be the same prospect – Nikola Topic. Both ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo both provided insight as to why Topic would be the correct selection.

“With a roster flush with talent at every position, it might make sense for the Thunder to consider drafting Topic, who was widely considered a top-5 prospect prior to suffering a knee injury,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote. “Oklahoma City can afford to redshirt Topic next season, extend Josh Giddey at a palatable number and then slide a healthy Topic (the two share plenty of similarities) into Giddey's place if they eventually need to move the Australian due to luxury tax concerns.”

Using Topic as a redshirt, given his age, could make sense. The Thunder could take time to figure out the situation with Giddey and the team’s future, too. This sort of follows a dual timeline, except the Thunder is incredibly young and they can afford to do such.

“Not only does Topic suit the Thunder's needs well, but he's a solid value for any team if he falls outside the top 10,” ESPN’s Jeremy Woo wrote. “Even if his partially torn ACL causes him to miss some or all of next season, drafting him now is a long-term value play. There were scouts who viewed him as a top-pick contender early in the season, and particularly if he does wind up sliding like this on draft night, Topic will be an interesting pro career to track in the years to come.”

Topic’s talent was highly regarded before the injury. He’s young and will be able to get back to form, so it would be incredible value for the Thunder to land a top-five talent and such a high-upside player late in the lottery.


READ MORE: Why Knicks Center Isaiah Hartenstein Would be Intriguing Acquisition for OKC Thunder

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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.