It’s no secret that the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the early stages of a rebuild. With a young superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a record-setting number of picks, Thunder GM Sam Presti is quietly putting together one of the brightest futures in the NBA.
Presti spoke at the end of the 2020-21 season, describing the type of success he wants for this organization. He would like to build a team that’s a contender for a decade straight when the Thunder emerge once again, rather than just be a flash in the pan.
In his eyes, rebuilding a team isn’t about putting together a roster he thinks is a playoff team. Rather, it’s about building a team that can have sustained success.
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This makes sense, especially considering the very first era of Thunder basketball included long-term success in which OKC made the playoffs in every season but one over the course of a decade or more.
On Tuesday, Presti addressed the media for just the second time since the end of the season, laying out more of his philosophy on the rebuild. He doubled down on the fact that he’d rather take time to put together a team who can be great long-term than quickly rebuild a team that can't sustain the outcomes Thunder fans desire.
“The longer you want to be good, the more patience it sometimes requires,” said Presti prior to the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery.
Additionally, you’ve got to consider the end goal. The Oklahoma City Thunder have only been around for just over a decade, but have still never won a title. Not only does Presti want to put together another roster that can be a consistent playoff team, but also has the ability to win the ultimate prize.
Just like every GM in the league, Presti has one goal in mind.
“There’s only one thing to win in the NBA and it’s a championship,” said Presti.
With this in mind, the Thunder may still be a couple of seasons out from being a winning team once again. As they continue to acquire pieces, their roster will slowly build over time.
For now, with their young core and stash of draft picks, the short-term goal is to have a successful offseason that continues the positive trajectory of the rebuild.