Busting Brackets

NBA Draft 2024: Top 3 options for the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 12th pick

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The Oklahoma City Thunder are in just about as good of a spot as any team can be heading into the 2024 NBA Draft. Over the last few seasons, General Manager and Vice President Sam Presti has prided himself on stocking up on draft capital, investing in his young talent, and building a new era and culture in the 405. 

The Thunder own the 12th overall pick in this year's draft, and with the NBA combine and draft lottery behind us, the projections have started to come in at high volume. Oklahoma City statistically was one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league this season, ranking 29th just in front of the Washington Wizards, and it showed in their quarterfinal loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Finding a stretch big who is athletic, has size, and can rebound consistently is a crucial part of the off-season plan for the Thunder. The good thing is that there are many options at 12 that they could go with. Here are three potential options for OKC’s first-round pick. 

NBA Draft 2024: Oklahoma City Thunder

3. PF, Tyler Smith, G-League Ignite 

Coming in at 6-foot-10, 224 pounds, Tyler Smith gives the Thunder a versatile, experienced, and high-motor option with the 12th overall pick. Smith has the ability to stretch the floor, which is key in Mark Daigneault’s offense, which is nearly positionless. Appearing in 27 games last season for the G-League Ignite, Smith averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.0 blocks in 22.0 minutes per game. 

The 19-year-old shot 47.6% from the field and 36.4% from behind the arc. His journey to declaring for the NBA draft was an interesting one. Smith was a former five-star recruit and played his final two seasons of high school for Overtime Elite, where Ausar and Amen Thompson played. He then decided to skip college and join the G-League. 

This is a team that Smith can fit smoothly into. Most of his time with the Ignite was spent playing off the ball, spacing the floor, cutting, setting screens, and having the ability to switch anything and everything while having the capability of being used as a small ball center in certain instances. He is no Zach Edey on the glass, but he’s extremely active and is a near seamless fit into what the Oklahoma City Thunder have built and are continuing to build.