Rumor: Thunder could add Nikola Topic if he falls to No. 12 spot of 2024 NBA draft

A shockwave was sent throughout the 2024 NBA draft process when it was reported that projected lottery pick Nikola Topic suffered a partially torn ACL.

The extent of the injury is unknown, but it’s the latest example of a concerning trend. He suffered a knee injury in January that cost him four months. His return in April was shortlived as he suffered an ACL tear on the same knee just three games later.

The 18-year-old could go down the road of redshirting his first year recovering from the knee injury. If that’s the case, it will seriously hurt his draft stock.

In ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony’s prospect rankings, he noted the Oklahoma City Thunder as a possible destination if he falls to the No. 12 spot.

San Antonio (No. 8), Utah (No. 10), Oklahoma City (No. 12) and Portland (No. 14) are viewed by teams as potential landing spots depending on team doctors’ full assessments of his medicals, which have yet to be distributed. Only teams picking in the top 15 will have access to those, per new CBA rules.”

The strategy behind the risky selection is to trust Topic’s recovery process and take a top-five talent with the 12th pick. The Thunder can afford the luxury of not needing him ready for his rookie year. They can slowplay his rehab in the background of another contending season.

Topic is viewed as a project with a real chance to be a high-end playmaker. The jumper needs to improve but the 6-foot-7 guard has the potential to be a great traditional point guard.

In 12 games last season with the ABA’s Mega MIS, he averaged 18.4 points on 52.3% shooting, 7.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds. He shot 25.9% from 3 on 4.5 attempts. He shot 85.5% from the free-throw line.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire