Thunder urged to make big move with No. 12 pick in NBA Draft

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three
Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

The OKC Thunder may have been one of the youngest teams in the entire association this past season, but after rattling off 57 wins and claiming their first playoff series victory since the Kevin Durant era, it seems they've leapfrogged a few steps in the rebuilding process and entered the title-hopeful territory.

With talents such as Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and, of course, MVP snub Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all sub-26 years old and under contract for the next several seasons, Oklahoma City is in a position where they can contend for the foreseeable future.

Of course, in this modern era of professional basketball, the name of the game is star power and, because of this, the Thunder are being urged by Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley to steer clear of adding on yet another high-upside young prospect with their 2024 lottery pick and, instead, aim to snatch up an established top-flight talent in exchange for the draft rights via some sort of trade.

OKC Thunder urged to try and swap lottery pick for established player

"All that said, because they're already so close to the top, they should see whether they can find that finishing piece. Ideally, that player would fit this team's timeline, but exceptions could be made for an established, elite-level veteran whose contract comes off the books before the likes of Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren need massive pay raises.

The Thunder can and should be selective in their search, though, because if the right player isn't available, then adding another cost-controlled contributor to this core could make a lot of sense."

Zach Buckley

Though recent rumblings are suggesting that the Thunder are open to the idea of even moving up from the number 12 pick in the upcoming draft, with reports being that they have their eyes on UConn center Donovan Clingan, Buckley's thoughts on the current state of Mark Daigneault's roster is that they could benefit greatly from having a ready-made professional who could help contribute to winning basketball right away.

While there are some interesting prospects OKC could choose from, the concept of trading out the pick in exchange for an established pro could be the most logical move for this win-now team to make, and, with talented guys like Deni Avdija and Jarrett Allen all being labeled as possible offseason trade targets, there should be plenty of intrigue from this front office to make some sort of deal happen.

With just over two weeks remaining between now and the June 26 draft date, the Thunder have the potential to make some serious splashes by using their lottery selection as trade fodder. Buckley is a major advocate for them to do so.