Sam Presti is a mixed bag for OKC Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti

Sam Presti
Picture: AP

Sam Presti is lucky he’s in Oklahoma City. He would be held accountable for his mistakes if he were to take charge of the larger-market franchise with a longer and more demanding fan base. But, before we deal with those issues, Presti has proven herself to be one of the best talent and character judges. He crushed most of his first-round picks and now holds a historic treasure trove of draft capital. The Thunder own 38 picks through 2029, including 19 in both the first and second rounds – including the value taken from the Clippers in one of the best deals in NBA history drawn using lever to move Paul George. They also have one of the NBA’s best young cores, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Josh Giddey, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams. They also have a collection of people with low ceilings, high floors in Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, Darius Bazely, Tre Mann, and beloved beggar, Aleksej Pokuševski. As famous Thunder fans have said, Presti zigs where others zag.

Ahead of this season, Giddey has emerged in the absence of the SGA and Holmgren as a go-to pick when it comes to attack, with improved shooting, thanks to new shooting coach Chip Engelland and competitive frustration. His is still intact. So far before this season, Giddey has shot 50 percent away with three tries per game. Not a bad stat to add to a player that posed a triple threat on any given night. The Thunder are currently 4-1 up in pre-season, a sign that Presti have built a core that’s too good to endure without their general manager intentionally picking their players rather than trying to Try to win the game.

But if you lament Presti’s virtues, you also have to acknowledge his flaws, which fragile Thunder fans have trouble doing. Maybe it’s because Thunder fans are the youngest fan base in the NBA, considering the franchise has only been around since 2008. They still don’t know the real loss and their innocence makes them Blindness to Prestige names has made them easy to give up in the trade. Like when Presti traded Rubio and the 25th and 28th picks in the 2020 draft for the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the 17th pick overall, where he picked the athletically incompetent and incompetent Pokuševski, missing out on the turns. pick would become Immanuel Quickley (25th) and Jaden McDaniels (28th), two better players than Poku. Or when he bids farewell to the all-too-successful 2020 playoff team and gets back bundles that aren’t appealing to most players, including trading future HOF guard Chris Paul to get the players back. goofy left OKC for minimal profit and 2022 draft pick (30th) they trade away too. At this point, after Paul dragged a bunch of over-the-top role players to the knockout stages, Presti got essentially nothing.

So let’s talk about the players they have. How many superstars are on that list? SGA looks like a real deal and will become a household name this season, that is, if he doesn’t fall victim to another Prestige tank. Dort is considered an excellent two-way starter, while Giddey and Holmgren are both great unknowns with incredible upstream abilities but also major flaws: Giddey shooting; strength and health for Holmgren.

NBA watchers have been hoping this upcoming season will end the nightmare Presti has forced on Thunder fans since they dropped their first series against the Rockets in 2020. Alas, Presti was very serious in pursuing Lottery fortune. He purposely gives his best players a break to chase losses, ruin a beautiful basketball game, and disgust those of us who watch to see the best player play well. best. That doesn’t mean the injuries aren’t real. It just means that the rest needed for the aforementioned injuries remains mysteriously open. In all, Thunder fans are relatively silent on tank work. Instead, they preach patience and apologize to Presti’s slanders, self-denying rather than holding their leader accountable for doing all they can to lose in time. short term.

Thunder news rarely gets noticed outside of their small market niche, but those paying attention have seen him appreciate his team over the past few days. This week, he traded young men with potential, all with a bit of potential, for things that took up a bag of scraps. It all started in July when he inexplicably abandoned striker Isaiah Roby, whom Spurs quickly picked. It’s weird to let a 24-year-old average 10 and 5 years old and 50 percent shooting from the field is worth nothing when there’s a team out there that cares. A failure of Presti and the fan base for not asking out loud “what the hell is going on?”

Since he was transferred to OKC in 2021, Thunder fans have been hoping former No. 3 pick Derrick Favors will eventually be “unmasked” for more capital. However, he is still on the list despite playing the fewest games last year since his second season. Late yesterday, under the cover of night and unrest, Presti finally managed to trade the Offer. Not for draft capital. He had to give up a pick in the second round, but because of a bunch of steals at the bottom of the Houston Rockets’ bench.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that the Thunder traded Mo Harkless, Derrick Favors, Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon and a 2025 second-round pick from Atlanta to the Rockets for David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss. Harkless was just acquired two days ago in another unattractive deal, giving Thunder another yawn-inducing second-round pick while eliminating Screw Krejčí in the deal. Now, Krejčí is nothing special. He’s had minor injuries, recently coming back from an ACL injury, but at 6 feet 8, he’s shown lightning early in attack and at 22. He’s the type of player that you hoard and grow, not trading for an expiring veteran and a second-round pick that you might end up using on a player exactly like Krejčí.

That prestige has come at the expense of veteran Favors, who are expected to see a boost within minutes of Holmgren’s injury, signaling that he’s done another total boost job. Buried in the trade is the end of the test Theo Maledon, one of Presti’s rare recent absences from the draft but a kid with potential. The same can be said for Ty Jerome, who was part of the Virginia national championship team and has performed enough as a professional to warrant an investment as a reserve. Oddly enough, the Thunder were willing to scrap some of the valuable bodies they had in order to get back those washed-up veterans and second-round picks. Especially when they are predicted to have more picks than the players allowed on the roster. Why not hold onto these kids and kick the can down the street for a season or two? Or play them in the game you’re trying to lose and see what they gain?

Presti’s most fervent apologists will refuel by celebrating the GM going under the bonnet. For what? What use is space for a team like Oklahoma City, an ultimate destination for any free agent? They also get two commercial exceptions, one of the more prized assets in the NBA, especially for a team that doesn’t seem to want to add players. What do these trades do for the team but guarantee a loss? This raises the biggest question, how long will the young core people not only lose, but how long will their prestige be lost? This is why SGA Answering this question was the biggest highlight and draw of the team’s media day. Now that the Thunder are making moves to opt out of competitive basketball, the only thing relevant at OKC is how much more SGA is lost, which the rest of this talented young core can handle. physical. And for how long?


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