The Oklahoma City Thunder enter the 2023 NBA Draft holding most, if not all, of the cards. Sam Presti has a treasure trove of future draft picks at his disposal, including four picks in the 2024 Draft, to maneuver with. From trading up in the draft from the 12th overall pick to buying back into the first round and everything in between, it is all on the table for the OKC Thunder.
The buzz around the 2023 NBA Draft will be the Oklahoma City Thunder attempting to trade up from the 12th overall pick. Of course, that is not exactly breaking news, as Sam Presti has made a Draft Day trade each year since the 2019 draft, but it makes this topic intriguing.
The OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz are perfect trade partners during the 2023 NBA Draft.
I am confident that Sam Presti will keephis draft day streak alive of making a move on Draft Night. No matter if it is a move to get back into the first round, shoot up the board from 12, or gain second-round positioning, something will happen. Despite his house-painting analogy during his exit interview, with four picks in a weak NBA Draft class, the OKC Thunder should pursue higher than the 12th slot in this loaded 2023 Draft.
Everyone should circle the Utah Jazz come Draft night as a team with which the OKC Thunder could make a deal, providing a win-win scenario for both.
In this deal, the Oklahoma City Thunder give up the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and give the Utah Jazz their top-ten protected 2024 NBA Draft Pick back in exchange for the ninth pick in the 2023 Draft. This move offers the Jazz flexibility for next season to bottom out either by choice or in the season’s flow while not dramatically impacting the tier of player they get, offset by the added pick in ’24.
The OKC Thunder moving up to the ninth overall pick would ensure them one of their best-fitting prospects in the Draft. While it is not likely, Jarace Walker falls to pick nine, one of Taylor Hendricks or Gradey Dick would be on the board at that time. Especially if Taylor Hendricks is available, this is a deal that the Thunder should pounce on.
Hendricks is the perfect modern-day four that fits seamlessly next to 2022 2nd overall pick Chet Holmgren down low. As a nearly 40 percent three-point shooter in college, a high-level rim protector, defender, and positional playmaker, this would be one of the dream scenarios for Oklahoma City on Draft Night.
Even after giving the Utah Jazz their pick back, the OKC Thunder still has three first-round picks in the 2024 NBA Draft: their own, the Clipper’s first-round pick, and the Houston Rockets Selection (top-four protected).