3 best Wing prospects for the OKC Thunder: Can they get a difference maker?

Jarace Walker #25 of the Houston Cougars (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
Jarace Walker #25 of the Houston Cougars (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Taylor Hendricks #25 of the UCF Knights (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder could set their sights on the perfect stretch four to complete their offense. 

The OKC Thunder forward Taylor Hendricks is one of the fan-favorites around Bricktown. The UCF product played in 34 games as a freshman, averaging 15 points, seven rebounds, and an assist per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor, 39 percent from beyond the arc, and 78 percent at the charity stripe. Perhaps the most critical number in all of that is near 80 percent from the free throw line, which clears the 70 percent threshold the NBA looks for to project outside shooting touch.

Hendricks made All-AAC honors as a freshman while being graded in the 90th percentile in overall offense, 85th percentile in the half-court, and 95th percentile as a transition threat. The Golden Knight made 39 percent of his catch-and-shoot looks and 33 percent of his jumpers off the dribble.  As a spot-up scorer, Hendricks ranks in the 73rd percentile and thrives in the post, ranking in the 93rd percentile on post-ups.

While Taylor Hendricks is a great pick-and-roll option (1.56 points per possession, 98th percentile), the difference between him and Walker offensively mainly stems from their cutting ability.  While Walker is an explosive cutter, Hendricks’ version of cutting is mainly flashing through the post—the UCF forward only ranked in the 32nd percentile as a cutter in college.

The Oklahoma City Thunder would have an easier time moving up from pick 12 for Taylor Hendricks than for Jarace Walker. It appears not only should Hendricks be available at pick 9, but the Utah Jazz represents one of the smoothest trade-up partners for the Bricktown boys. Giving up the 12th pick and the Jazz their 2024 first-round pick back could open the door for Presti to slide to pick nine and grab Hendricks.