The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked everyone by trading away Paul George, but they were well-compensated for the bold move. They received no less than five first-round picks from the Los Angeles Clippers, a haul of unprecedented proportions in a trade for a superstar. It was a surprising change in direction by the Thunder, and with the reports they may move Russell Westbrook, they might end up choosing to enter a complete rebuild.
That scenario is growing more likely by the day. Most recently, the Thunder traded starting forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for yet another first-round pick. Grant was a key member of their lineup, able to defend four positions and adequately shoot from deep. The trade simply added to the Thunder’s treasure trove of draft picks, which, frankly, borders on the ridiculous. Looking at the full list, it’s clear Sam Presti values quantity over quality:
It’s almost comical how many picks they’ve managed to amass, with most coming in the span of three days. It’s reminiscent of how some NFL teams handle their draft season, where the more swings you get, the better chance of contact. The NBA, of course, is different, because only 60 guys are picked every draft night, whereas the NFL has over 200 players selected. The point of diminishing value in regards to the quantity of draft picks comes far earlier in the NBA.
If their moves over the last few days indicate anything, they aren’t done yet. Presti may move to a full-on fire sale, and no one will be safe. It’s easy to see Westbrook getting moved at this point, and even Steven Adams is making a bit too much money to justify keeping him around. They may end up with an additional three draft picks by the time the regular season starts, if not more.
If there’s any way to kick-start a rebuild, building an entirely new team off the strength of a half-dozen draft picks from other teams is certainly one way to do it. Personally, I hope they reach double digits. Let’s push this idea to its logical extreme and see how quickly OKC returns to contention.