Future Of OKC Thunder

The NBA Draft will just be known as the Sam Presti Invitational.

Jim Rome
July 12, 2019 - 10:06 am
James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant

USA Today


From now on, the NBA Draft will just be known as the Sam Presti Invitational. After their three trades in the last week, the Thunder now have at least two first round picks in six of the next seven drafts.

Once Paul George told Presti he wanted out, the GM went to work. And that work has been collecting first round picks like baseball cards. And by all accounts, taking care of the players who wanted out. Paul George wanted to go to the Clippers, he ended up with the Clippers and Sam Presti ended up with their draft for the next half decade.

With the rebuild underway, Russell Westbrook wanted to leave for one of two spots and he got the spot he really wanted. And Sam Presti got a bunch more picks in return. Is anyone else even allowed to draft anymore? Or does Presti have every single pick of every single round for the next five years??  

Three trades in under a week, including dealing an MVP and an MVP candidate, and looking at that roster, there’s a good chance he’s not done making moves. There are still a few pieces left that he could move.

Starting with Chris Paul. Because now Paul and his contract find themselves in a really weird spot. That spot is Oklahoma City in the middle of a rebuild, while he is aging out. And getting more expensive by the year.

Make no mistake about it. Sam Presti isn’t looking to rebuild on the fly. This time last week, they were a team that could compete for a conference finals spot if things broke right. Now they are a shell of that team. They went from possible contender to possible lottery team in a matter of days. It’s really remarkable. Presti ripped that team down to the studs in a heartbeat.

Last night marked the end of an era in OKC. An era that included Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George. That is one hell of a run. But it’s over.

Steven Adams could be gone shortly. Billy Donovan may decide a rebuild isn’t for him.  Speaking of which we haven’t heard word one from the Munster Kid! Is Herman’s kid still even with us?  Eddie! !!  What’s good baby!? Heeey!!  _Eddie!!  Mockingbird lane Eddie!!! Hey Herman!! Why’s your kid so funny looking!!!! Natasha! What’s good baby!  Seriously, the Munster kid can’t leave if he’s not alive. Someone make sure he’s all right.

Anyway…That trade is not the start of the Chris Paul Era in OKC. It’s the start of the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Era in OKC. And Chris Paul just happens to be there.

That either means that Chris Paul is going to be playing out the string on a team that isn’t quite good enough to make noise in the playoffs or get a great pick in the lottery. Or he gets flipped again and OKC Chris Paul jerseys will feel like Mike Piazza Marlins jerseys.

Seeing Paul on the Thunder will be about as hilarious as watching Rockets fans kill Westbrook and say his triple-doubles are empty stats only to double back when he’s on their team and say they’re the most important numbers in the world.

Look…Chris Paul has been a helluva player. And the Rockets don’t have the last two years that they did without him. They don’t come as close as they did to the Finals without Chris Paul. That’s just a fact. And just because all those reports after the season made him look horrible, doesn’t mean that bringing him to Houston was a mistake.

But….but….I if he was getting bent about how the league’s reigning MVP was playing, and a team that had a legitimate look at a world championship. Imagine how much of a pain in the ass he could be on a full blown rebuild when he’s playing nothing but a paycheck. 

And here’s the other thing about draft picks. They are just picks. I know they got Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from the Clippers and they’re excited about him. I get it. But two first round picks in every draft from now until the end of time doesn’t guarantee anything. The only guarantee that you get from those picks is that you’re getting those picks.

When Presti has had a top five pick, he’s crushed it. Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook. James Harden. You cannot get better than that for hit-rate on top five picks. But once those picks fall outside the top five, things get a little dicier. Hello, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne, and Perry Jones. For every Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams, there are a few Dakari Johnsons and Magnum Rolles.

Actually, there’s only one Magnum Rolle. And there will only ever be one Magnum Rolle. An All-World name. OKC fans have to hope that Presti will find more guys with Magnum Rolle’s game and someone else’s game.