July 25, 2024

As the NBA Draft approaches, there isn’t as much anticipation surrounding the Thunder this year. In recent seasons, Thunder fans eagerly awaited the draft, hoping to add a key player with a Top 10 pick. Due to smart management and asset accumulation, Oklahoma City remains relevant in the lottery with the No. 12 pick, but the team’s core is now more established.

As usual, nobody knows what Sam Presti and the Thunder will do on draft night. With the team close to championship contention, many suggest trading the No. 12 pick for a win-now player. While various options make sense, one less-discussed strategy is using future draft capital to move up and select a top prospect ready to contribute immediately.

The Thunder could continue adding young talent, and ESPN reported on Monday that Oklahoma City is interested in UConn big man Donovan Clingan. Instead of trading for front court depth, the Thunder could address a need by selecting one of the top prospects. Moving into the Top 3 would be challenging, but Oklahoma City has the resources.

Could OKC Thunder Look to Trade Up for Coveted Center?

“Several teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder, are rumored to be exploring the cost of moving up in the draft and appear to have interest in Clingan, who has not worked out for the Rockets,” reported ESPN’s Jeremy Woo. “Selecting Clingan at No. 3 would significantly impact the draft’s direction.”

While this report is intriguing, it seems unlikely. Clingan has been mentioned in connection with the No. 1 overall pick, and there’s no guarantee he slips to No. 3, making it a risky move. This scenario feels more like a draft night trade possibility.

If Oklahoma City secures Clingan, he would be a game-changing addition. The 7-foot-2 center would provide significant depth in the front court and be an ideal backup for Chet Holmgren. With Holmgren’s shooting and developing guard skills, they could even play together.

Clingan fits the Thunder’s profile as an elite defender with good passing ability for a big man. He averaged 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.4 blocks on the National Championship team.

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