1 NBA Draft prospect every current lottery team should highlight

As the 2024 NBA Draft landscape takes shape, here is one prospect every current lottery team should take special interest in.

Alex Sarr, Perth Wildcats
Alex Sarr, Perth Wildcats / Paul Kane/GettyImages
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12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Rockets) — Donovan Clingan, UConn

OKC has depth on the perimeter, but there's reason to believe even a slight upgrade over Jaylin Williams in the backup five spot could go a long way. Williams has impressed with his nifty passing and feather-soft touch, but he's a defensive liability in the postseason. Chet Holmgren should clearly be starting at center, no matter how skinny his frame is, but a proper low-block enforcer could have its perks.

Enter Donovan Clingan, who parlayed increased minutes during Connecticut's 2023 title run into expanded duties as a sophomore. Clingan is listed at 7-foot-2 and 265 pounds. He is limited when it comes to defending in space and guarding up on the perimeter, but Clingan isn't a stiff. He moves well enough laterally to survive in the NBA, where his 7-foot-7 wingspan and towering physique figures to translate into plus rim protection. He displays excellent instincts on the defensive end and he could help OKC in certain important matchups (cough, cough, Denver).

Clingan's offense is mostly restricted to the paint, but he's a viable lob threat and mismatch-punisher with the passing chops to get by in OKC's dynamic system. Clingan would address a niche need for OKC, but the Thunder have enough depth and top-end talent to focus on niche needs in the lottery.

11. Chicago Bulls — Ja'Kobe Walter, Baylor

Coby White and Ja'Kobe Walter, forever and always. The Bulls are in a rather precarious spot as a franchise. It's clear the Chicago is ready to rebuild, but Zach LaVine is under contract for four more years and not a single team wants his contract. There are rumors of DeMar DeRozan re-signing in the offseason. Nikola Vucevic just re-signed. Chicago is stuck between timelines with no apparent plan to commit in either direction successfully.

That can make pinpointing the "ideal" Bulls prospect a bit challenging. That said, Walter is a hand-in-glove fit for most teams. While there are valid concerns about his lack of self-creation or elite positional size at 6-foot-5, Walter is one of the most versatile shooters on the board. He's comfortable firing from wonky angles and he's a plus athlete, capable of finishing through contact at the rim. Walter also creates opportunities on defense with his intensity and instincts. He would be the perfect complement to Chicago's primary stars, whoever they end up being in the years to come.

Walter has been one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball to date, averaging 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 steals on .421/.369/.846 splits in 29.4 minutes. He won't create advantages off the bounce or generate looks for teammates, but Walter will stretch defenses thin and take advantage of scoring avenues. He should guard at least a few positions well, too.