A year ago, Sam Presti made wholesale changes to the Oklahoma City Thunder. At that time, he said, "We're still a hundred percent focused on building the most sustainable path for an elite team in Oklahoma City, realizing that's something that eventually we're going to embark on.". "... "But we're not at that point yet, and we think that this season is one that we should really dive into and experience." I think it will be great for our fans, as well, to have some of the guys and get to know some of the new players."
Presti was putting the most positive spin on a situation, that at best was uncertain. Pesti also said he wanted to be playing in meaningful games at the end of the season.
At the time, you could have interpreted "meaningful games" in several ways. Did it mean fighting for playoff position, draft position, or could Presti and Clay Bennett have something else up their sleeves?
A year later, we know Presti meant the Thunder would be playing for the most favorable playoff seeding they could get. At 40-24, Oklahoma City has an unexpected run. While you can give Chirs Paul credit for stepping into a leadership role, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder Deserve credit for buying into what Billy Donovan is selling.
"I think it's great. It's been a great group of guys, and our players and our coaches have done a really good job of, I think, looking at the season as a whole and not getting like too high or too low as the season had rolled around." "Everybody has contributed. You know, and I don't think any of us had an idea where we would be, quite frankly. We certainly didn't expect to be in the situation that we're in going down to Orlando. No one predicted that."
"But as I said at the beginning of the season, I think someone asked me -- I don't know what the question was, but I remember using the term "meaningful games." We wanted to play meaningful games, and I think we're doing that, and that's a testament to the players and the coaches, and now we have the opportunity to go down there and see where we can take that." However, the Thunder finish this season, Presi and the rest of the organization can take solace in knowing there is a stable foundation being laid for future success.