3. Lauri Markkanen
The Utah Jazz have overachieved for the second season in a row now. After being projected to finish at the very bottom of the West in 2022-23, Utah rose to the top of the conference to begin the year before trading some of their top pieces and finishing just outside the play-in. This season, they are in the play-in range despite many once again picking them to finish 14th or 15th in preseason.
They continue to surprise teams, and one of the biggest reasons is Lauri Markkanen. The Finnish big man has completely reshaped his career, evidenced by his 2023 Most Improved Player award. After five good but not great seasons in Chicago and Cleveland, Markkanen was shipped to the Jazz as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade.
Since arriving in Utah, Lauri has put up averages of 25.6 and 23.5 points, upping his shooting percentages and showing how dangerous he is in both iso and pick-and-roll situations. He is one of the best bigs on the market, and the Thunder would be positively thrilled to put him next to Chet Holmgren in the frontcourt.
The biggest hurdle to OKC acquiring Lauri would be the reported astronomical asking price. The Jazz have supposedly told teams that they want "five-ish firsts" in exchange for their talented big man. Even with as many picks as the Thunder have, they may want to hold off on pulling the trigger on a deal that massive.