I'll start by saying, yes I know this is a Blazer blog, but I think I've read so much about how the "Thunder" have done it, I wanted to pull back the curtain and share the real story.
The Thunder and Sam Presti have been lauded as this great franchise with such a wonderful GM that has made these great moves. If you look closer at the actual decisions that they have made, I think the truth is starkly different.
Lets start with some acknowledgements...
Yes he drafted Russel Westbrook - this in my opinion is the best move that Presti has done in his tenure at OKC.
Also he drafted James Harden, but this wasn't his first choice. Actually the reality here is that wanted to pick Hasheem Thabeet. The draft just didn't fall that way and he ended up with Harden. But he does deserve credit here.
Looking at the rest of his moves, there is some great questions about how beneficial they were.
Take for example trading Jeff Green for Perkins. Perkins is awful, and on top of that gave him 9 mil per year. I don't know why Perkins looked so good in Boston, or if he ever did. But there is so little production coming out of the center position its clearly a liability.
Green on the other hand has developed into a very decent player. Not saying he is all world and that the Thunder should have kept him. But who they got back in return wasn't what this team needed. He could have been used to pursue a much better piece to this puzzle.
Then lets address the Harden deal. Yeah Harden wanted to get paid, but why not pay him, he was fantastic in his role and made it almost impossible for anyone to guard all three threats of Durant, Westbrook and Harden. Instead he valued Perkins, whom he could have amnestied and moved on to another veteran center. Yeah while Martin looks good for a season, the truth is he is no James Harden.
Now those who say they have a limited budget and cannot go over the cap, I realize that is part of the challenge. However I challenge the thinking that Serge Ibaka is worth 12.3 mil or that Perkins is worth 8.3. Those funds could have easily been used for Harden and they picked up a roll player at center, like Marcus Camby or Chris Anderson.
Then look at the trade the he could have had for Tyson Chandler, he nixed that because of a foot injury. There is so much that goes into what could have been if Chandler, one of the top defensive players in the NBA, was on the team.
Then look at keeping Scott Brooks. I really do like him, but he reminds me very much of Nate McMillan. Creativity is limited, defense is not sound. There isn't a team feel on either offense or defense, more one on one success on both sides of the ball. When they didn't win the NBA finals last year, that was a real opportunity for Presti to find the right coach for this team.
So all in all, had Presti been the GM that he is so heralded, his roster could have been incredible with nothing more than limiting his trades and following through with one huge trade.(Chandler) Take a look.
PF - Ibaka
SF - Durant
SG - Sefolosha
PG - Westbrook
SG - Harden
PF - Green
PF - Collison
PG - Maynor
Now in conclusion, I do have to give credit to Presti for making the trade for Sefolosha and Drafting Ibaka and Harden. However the "Greatness" that many have said about him, to me is not quite what the reality says it is. This is just one humble mans opinion.
Additional thought that was pointed out to me. The following players that Presti has drafted and traded away
Carl Landry - Traded to Houston for Sasha Kaun
Eric Bledsoe - Traded Clippers for a future pick
Rodrique Beaubois - Traded along with Solomon Alabi to Dallas for Bryron Mullens
Quincy Pondexter - Traded for Cole Aldrich
Thanks for reading.