Topic Thunder? OKC Cruises Through 2024 Draft


The Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the clear winners in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Originally having one pick going into the draft, they closed with three high-upside players, trading up for first and second-round picks.

Thunder General Manager Sam Presti used his abundance of draft capital to ensure he could select the right people for the Thunder project.

The Big Topic

With the twelfth pick in the NBA Draft, the Thunder selected 6-foot-6 guard Nikola Topic out of Serbia. A player that will miss the entire upcoming season due to an ACL tear.

Despite this drawback, the pick is incredible value for a player that could potentially be great.

Prior to his injury, Topic was as high as pick three in mock drafts across the NBA webspace. He brings excellent passing skills, basketball IQ and elite finishing ability.

Born August 10th, 2005, Topic is tied with Tidjane Salaun as the second-youngest player in the NBA Draft.

Topic is stellar driving to the hoop and finishing in various ways. He shot 60/94 (63.8%) on layups with medium-to-tight contests this season. Elite numbers at the rim.

Topic’s biggest question mark, his jump shot, will be better than what his 25.9 three-point percentage shows. He hit 88% from the line last season, and everyone knows how talented Thunder shooting coach Chip Engelland is.

According to Sam Presti, Topic is a extremely mature player for his age, and a terrific teammate.

Despite the injury forcing him to redshirt his rookie season, Nikola Topic is a player Thunder fans should be enamored for. With his playstyle being a perfect fit with the rest of the Thunder roster.

Mid-Major Mania

Dillon Jones

The Thunder sent five second-round picks to receive the 26th choice in the draft from the New York Knicks. With that pick, they selected Dillon Jones, a powerful forward out of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Weber State has had success with NBA prospects before, with future hall-of-fame point guard Damian Lillard coming from their program. Speaking of Lillard, Weber State coach Eric Duft compared the work ethic of Jones to that of the multi-time All-NBA guard.

This past season, Jones averaged 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game. His averages in points, assists and steals were all the highest of his career. Jones was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year this past season, and was on the All-Big Sky First Team the past two seasons.

Jones’ mentality is one every player should have. In his introductory press conference, Jones stated, “Being the guy helped me know what a guy would need from me.” He shows great confidence and humbleness and that is exactly what Sam Presti looks for in his selections.

Jones brings the Thunder a strong body that can be a double-double force at the NBA level. He is an above-average passer who can create for others if necessary, but is great off the ball as well. Jones can be a stellar role player, or more, for the Thunder with his skillset.

Ajay Mitchell

In a flurry of trades on Day Two of the NBA Draft, the Thunder were able to select Ajay Mitchell, a 22-year-old guard out of UC Santa Barbara. One of the most efficient microwave scorers in the draft.

Mitchell averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 29 games last season, shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc. He shot above 50% from the field in all three seasons he played in college.

Mitchell is appreciative on the Thunder’s urge to select him. With the multiple trades they completed to reach him makes him feel like they truly want him in OKC.

Mitchell has a strong floater game, three-point shot, and is an all-around three-level scoring threat. He has strong defensive instincts to be able to stay on the floor, and all around is a perfect second-round selection for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A Truly Excellent Draft

The Thunder’s draft was truly everything you wanted from a team looking to not only build for the now, but also for them to continue to grow for the future.

From a pick of an injured former top-four prospect, to selecting two strong mid-major players and how that has worked in the past (JDub). This draft was as close to perfect as you could get.

The first time you can see Thunder rookies Dillon Jones and Ajay Mitchell in action will be in the Utah Summer League, which starts July 8th against the 76ers, at 6 PM Central on ESPN. The rest of the Thunder Summer League schedule can be viewed below.

Sam Presti truly has something special brewing in Oklahoma City.

About Cody Burton

Student at West Virginia University

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