3 Realistic Draft Targets for the Oklahoma City Thunder

With the NBA Draft Lottery concluding in Chicago on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder landed the No. 12 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

It was a chaotic day for many Lottery Teams including multiple teams jumping up which included the Atlanta Hawks landing their first-ever No. 1 overall pick.

The Thunder are currently in the midst of a tough series in the Conference Semifinals and are the only playoff team with a lottery pick.

After finishing 57-25 which resulted in earning the No. 1 Seed in the Western Conference, Oklahoma City is still enjoying the fruits of their rebuild labor with draft picks now cashing in from previous trades.

The Oklahoma City Thunder received this pick via the Houston Rockets from a 2019 trade that sent Russell Westbrook to Houston.

While everything is on the table – including trading the pick for an established player, and moving up or down a few spots via trade – here are three realistic options for the Oklahoma City Thunder with Pick No. 12.

Realistic NBA Draft Targets for the OKC Thunder

Cody Williams, Wing/Forward, Colorado

Mar 22, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Colorado Buffaloes forward Cody Williams (10) shoots against Florida Gators forward Alex Condon (21) in the second half in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Gainbridge FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to select another standout rookie as they did over the last few years with Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey, and Cason Wallace. Although, due to an already deep rotation, not a lot of pressure will be on this upcoming rookie for success in 2024-25.

The Thunder can take a swing on a high-upside prospect in Cody Williams. The Thunder will know more than most about Cody Williams given their selection of his brother – Jalen Williams – in the 2022 NBA Draft which has led the organization to grow a relationship with the Williams family.

Cody Williams is trending toward polarizing territory without a consensus range for him, due to him playing through a multitude of injuries this season. However; he showed flashes that are worthy of being selected in the lottery. His skillset translates very well in the modern NBA with his versatility and ability to fill in a multitude of roles.

Cody Williams is a lengthy 6’8 two-way wing/forward who moves fluidly on both ends. He’s a high IQ player who moves well without the ball and understands spacing which is something that will translate better in the NBA.

Defensively is where Williams will hang his hat when he gets to the NBA where he really shines when engaged and healthy. His ability to guard multiple positions out on the perimeter alongside his ability to navigate screens.

Now on the offensive end, Williams is a good play-finisher, a good catch-and-shoot shooter, as well as an off-ball shooter, and with development reps, he can be a solid on-ball creator with his ability to knife through the teeth of the defense and finish at the rim.

Kyle Filipowski, Center, Duke

Mar 31, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Kyle Filipowski (30) controls the ball against North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Mohamed Diarra (23) in the second half in the finals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airline Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The number one thing that people have been pushing the Thunder to get is a big. The thing is you get a big that fits the Thunder’s system and play-style.

Kyle Filipowski displays many qualities the Thunder are looking for to fit their system and play style. He can handle the rock, has solid court vision for his position, can score inside as well as stretch the floor, plays sound defense, and, most importantly, provides size, strength, and rebounds.

Filipowski stands at 7-foot 250 pounds. He brings a sizable frame which he would provide much-needed help for Chet Holmgren on the glass and in the interior. As previously mentioned, the Thunder value high-feel passers, and Filipowski fits the bill with his playmaking (whether it’s in the short roll or from the high post).

The Thunder are dedicated to playing five out on offense, and Filipowski can do that as well after knocking down 35 percent of his 112 attempts from three as a sophomore at Duke.

There will be questions about his quickness and ability to defend in space, but if the shot is consistent. Then this will be a player who would come off the bench and provide great backup minutes behind Chet Holmgren.

Tyler Smith, Forward, G League Ignite

Team Detlef forward Tyler Smith (11) of G League Ignite dunks Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, during the 2024 Panini Rising Stars Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

Tyler Smith gives the Thunder much-needed size at the forward position. He’s a 6’11 athletic forward who provides size and can stretch the floor.

Smith showed flashes of being able to score at all three levels. Good as a roller and finishes in the dunker spot. Adding in his ability to stretch the floor, his game should translate well at the NBA level.

Defensively, what he can do should excite NBA teams, (especially defending pick-and-action). Smith’s versatility and switch ability stand out as he has the ability to defend all five positions.

Smith is agile enough to play off the catch and he can also attack closeouts against slow-footed bigs which would complement Chet Holmgren. Smith would fit right in the Thunder system and allow the Thunder to play a similar 5-out style.

Main Image: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

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