If nothing else, the Oklahoma City Thunder, as governed by the General Manager Sam Presti and majority owner Clay Bennett, owe the season ticket holders of the team to put forth the best product available for this current 2019-2020 season. So far, through one third of the season, so good. Currently, the Thunder are sitting in a playoff spot, being a 6th, 7th, or 8th seed. As continued improvement (the team is winning more games recently than losing) seems to be the pattern, maybe this team can go even higher.
It is no secret that Presti has always talked a good game in that he has done his due diligence to keep the franchise on a positive and winning course. His emphasis for the Thunder to be viable each and every year has been consistent. Following a pattern set by the Utah Jazz, OKC, under Presti, has been a franchise that would make the playoffs, even if the chance to win an NBA title was not that high on a year to year basis. Yet here in the south plains, the team on Reno Street has been very successful in the short eleven year history, and the Thunder has been a winner for the most part.
For Presti and Bennett, the goal to be a playoff team has been paramount, and a winner fills the seats, brings notoriety to the city and state, and showcases the ultra talent of the players that wear the uniform. With the re-build currently taking place, Presti must not dismember this current squad, knowing that some tweaking and roster shuffle might be necessary.
A gutting of the team would not be in the best interests of this franchise, especially when a re-build will take no less than three years with a possibility that OKC might never make it to the Western Finals in the least or an NBA Finals appearance in our lifetime.
Nothing is guaranteed with a rebuild in the NBA. To think it is, a foregone conclusion that OKC will be successful in the endeavor, one is being foolish. It might happen. It might not happen too. Trash this team today in OKC could be the all-time mistake of this franchise.
If you are a member of the Thunder Nation, I believe you understand what could happen shortly with the OKC Thunder. Sure, the big guy from Italy will need to be moved as of an expiring contract. Let’s hope that Presti gets someone in return that will not significantly wreck the team for the rest of the season. Any trades which include some of the other key players (we know who they are) that do not give the team immediate help will in fact “tank” this season and will disrespect the current season ticket holders. To work at getting a top one, two ,or three draft choice for the 2020 draft is still a crap shoot and to sacrifice this season’s chance to make the playoffs for the ever changing future outlook would be unwise.
Yes, working at getting a “can’t miss” player is important. But there are no sure things in drafting players. Take New Orleans and their “star” number one pick for this year then check his stats and where the Pelicans are in the standing. Hell, that player might never be the great potential that the Pelicans drafted. That is a fact.
Be cautious Sam Presti. This team will rebuild, but a bad move here or there and that construction might not include you for the long term.
Feature photo: Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder in action on Friday, Dec 20, 2019. Alonzo Adams USA Today