Oklahoma City Thunder 2024 Draft Analysis: Player Scouting Reports

Taking a deep dive into who the OKC Thunder snatched up in the 2024 NBA Draft, and what their impacts could be on the club moving forward.
2024 NBA Draft
2024 NBA Draft / Anadolu/GettyImages
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In the highly anticipated 2024 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder strategically added to their roster with a diverse array of talents poised to help shape the team's future.

Leading their selections was Nikola Topic, a dynamic guard from Serbia chosen at the 12th overall pick, renowned for his playmaking prowess and ability to get to the rim at will.

Following closely at the 26th spot was Dillon Jones of Weber State, a versatile forward with an impressive blend of scoring ability, rebounding, and defensive tenacity.

At the 38th pick, Ajay Mitchell from UC Santa Barbara showcased his scoring versatility and defensive acumen, offering OKC a promising guard with the potential to impact both ends of the floor.

Additionally, signing Alex Ducas from Saint Mary's as an undrafted free agent on a two-way contract highlights the Thunder's commitment to developing talent, banking on Ducas's sharpshooting abilities and basketball IQ to flourish in their system. Each selection underscores OKC's strategic approach to building a competitive and dynamic roster, blending immediate impact potential with long-term development aspirations, setting the stage for an exciting new chapter in Thunder basketball.

Today, we dive deep into this aformentioned new chapter and break down each of the club's newest rookie additions.

Pick No. 12) Nikola Topić, G, Serbia

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Nikola Topić due to his exceptional basketball sense and potential as an offensive creator, foreseeing his value alongside their already established players.

Topić displayed rare basketball intelligence with both Mega Basket in the Adriatic League and Red Star Belgrade in Euroleague competition, before a partially torn ACL ended his season.

He ran pick-and-rolls very effectively at Mega Basket, averaging seven assists and three turnovers over 13 games, though his conservative decision-making sometimes limited his stats.

He excelled in drive-and-kicks, hitting the dunker spot on drives, or spraying it to shooters on the perimeter, but occasionally overthought situations, missing the best play. His ability to exploit advantages, quick decision-making, and connective passing made him an appealing draft choice for OKC.

Despite shooting only 29 percent from three-point range, his high free-throw percentage (86.2) suggests his shot will only improve.

The Serbian's offensive potential lies in his ability to penetrate the paint and get to the rim, shooting 68 percent on half-court attempts at the rim, all without a single dunk. However he is almost strictly a below-the-rim finisher and his horizontal shake and burst in small spaces are a concern, affecting his playmaking and limiting his driving game.

In the NBA, teams will challenge him more, and his willingness to pull up from three needs to be effective. The Thunder value Topić’s aggressive nature to exploit defensive cracks, but his ability to create consistently is still in question. Despite his negative wingspan and ACL injury, his production, youth, and skill make him a promising prospect.

His handle especially is a strong point, allowing for dribble counters like spin moves, though he rarely gets that deep into his bag.

As Topić matures, marginal improvements could further enhance his game. His ability to take extra dribbles and prolong decision-making will be crucial.

Against tougher competition, Topić sometimes bailed out and stopped his dribble without creating an advantage, highlighting areas for improvement. Oklahoma City drafted Topić, betting on his ability to build a web of counters and continue his downhill marches against NBA defenses, particularly as his shooting improves. His off-ball value will also earn him a longer leash.

While his straight-line burst has been his primary asset, opening up his advanced playmaking, he will need to adapt to NBA defenses that won’t trap or hard-hedge him as much. Skill acquisition, particularly shooting and taking extra dribbles, will elevate Topić’s game.

Nikola Topić is a uniquely challenging prospect with significant strengths and weaknesses. Oklahoma City drafted him believing in his potential to improve. By focusing on his current skills rather than his limitations, it’s clear Nikola has the potential to become one of the best offensive creators in the 2024 Draft class, fulfilling OKC’s vision for a dependable NBA player.