With each notification from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic's Shams Charania, a certain pocket of Thunder fans gets excited at the prospect of potentially landing players via trade.
With an enigma of a general manager in Sam Presti, the Thunder are always considered a player near the trade deadline.
Stocked with an unprecedented amount of assets, Presti could go after any player on the trading block. He likely won’t, but things are never certain when Presti’s involved.
While getting an already seasoned star is a viable option for Presti and the Thunder, it shouldn’t be the way to go.
A championship is a near-impenetrable object without a force of a top-5 talent.
The last team who arguably didn’t own one was the 2014 Spurs, who had a pre-superstar Kawhi Leonard and a slew of veteran stars.
And there are no such talents on the trading block.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as one of the premier point guards in the NBA. But he’s far removed from having the gravity of a superstar.
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While there’s plenty of shiny cars on the trade market for fans right now, the Tesla’s are being charged for the 2022 NBA Draft.
The NBA’s most recent rebuilds have all seen draft success.
The newest, the Memphis Grizzlies, saw a string of several solid selections that have led to their best season in years. Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane.
Rookie guard Josh Giddey has been great, everything Oklahoma City needed out of the 2021 draft. But when it comes to NBA Finals, Giddey will be more support than star power.
Drafting a superstar is, obviously, easier said than done. They lurk far and wide in the draft: No. 1 — LeBron James, No. 3 — Luka Doncic, No. 15 — Giannis, No. 41 — Jokic.
But Presti has a nose for talent. And with a top selection and wide array of choices — Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero — Thunder fans can be hopeful they’ll be back on top soon.