Busting Brackets

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

Purdue v Connecticut
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1. C, Donovan Clingan, Connecticut

Donovan Clingan is as ideal of a prospect as the Thunder could want with the 12th pick if they intend on finding an elite rebounder. Clingan’s defensive presence during his time at UConn was substantial. Just his size and length were enough to alter anyone’s shot who came into the paint, and he’s more athletic than people give him credit for. He can switch screens and make up ground quickly and easily. 

The only concern with Clingan in the Thunder offense is that he doesn't play outside the three-point line much, if at all. Clingan shot a total of nine three-pointers last season and made just two. However, many prospects of his stature developed jumpers during their NBA careers. One being Brook Lopez. So it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he can find his shot with the help of NBA coaches.

Spacing the floor early on could be an interesting dynamic, but that also depends on how Mark Daigneault chooses to use him. Does he start him alongside Chet Holmgren? Or does he replace Holmgren off the bench? Nonetheless, floor spacing or not, Clingan would fix OKC’s rebounding woes and also add a fantastic pick-and-roll option for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to work alongside. 

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Clingan averaged 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game last year for the Huskies, which helped lead them to back-to-back National Championships. His free-throw shooting needs to improve, and it wouldn't hurt for him to develop a shot of some sort, even if it is a mid-range jumper. But if you want a two-way big man on the inside on both sides of the floor, there is no better option than Donovan Clingan projected in the lottery.