Thunder may get best player in the 2024 NBA Draft after alarming news

The Thunder could land the best player in the 2024 NBA Draft at 12th overall.
Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti
Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

The Oklahoma City Thunder have arrived after three years of rebuilding. They had the best regular season record in the loaded Western Conference and won their first playoff series since 2016. The credit goes to Sam Presti and his front office as they built an incredible and sustainable team through the draft. Oklahoma City has multiple stars and could add more talent this offseason.

The Thunder are loaded with draft capital but have just the 12th selection in 2024. Some are clamoring for them to trade it for a win-now help, but things may be setting up perfectly for Presti and company on draft night.

OKC could move up or down. It is all about finding the right prospect, and they may be able to do it by staying put after the recent injury report on one of the top projected players in this class.

Thunder may land Nikola Topic at 12th overall

The 6’6 point guard was limited to 23 games this season by multiple knee injuries. He is currently dealing with a partially torn ACL and will likely have to miss his entire rookie campaign after surgery. It will cause the projected top-five pick to slide down draft boards, but how far?

ESPN projected the best fits and value selections (subscription required) at each draft position. They had Topic to Oklahoma City in both categories. The fear after multiple knee injuries in the same season could force him to slide, and the Thunder may get an absolute steal.

They should jump at the chance to select Nikola Topic. He is arguably the best playmaker and passer in this class. Josh Giddey struggled mightily in the playoffs, and Oklahoma City could use another shot creator. Topic carves up defenses with his pick-and-roll chops and there is optimism about him developing a plus 3-point shot.

Imagine OKC having one more option to bend the defense in their second-round series against the Mavericks. Topic could probe into the paint and create open shots, which may have been enough to swing things in their favor.

Thunder are not afraid to wait a year for Nikola Topic

Oklahoma City just had Chet Holmgren miss his entire rookie season with a foot injury before returning as a game-changer. The 22-year-old is one of the most promising big men in the NBA, and supporters dream about his future matchups against Victor Wembanyama.

The Thunder could be in the same boat with Nikola Topic. They wait one year and come out with the best player in this class. The 6’6 point guard should make an immediate impact as a playmaker and has All-Star upside. He has immense upside in an uncertain class and could make 11 teams regret passing on him, despite the knee issues.  

It is a dream scenario for Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder front office, but one that looks much more plausible after Topic’s injury-plagued season that may force him to miss the entire 2024-25 campaign. The rest of the NBA will regret it, but the Thunder may end up with another steal and future star rounding out their incredible young core.