Last time we saw Sam Presti’s second pick of the 2022 draft LeBron broke some brittle bones in Chet Holmgren’s savagely malnurished body. As I’ve stated here before on the underground blog… I’m too old to sit and wait to see if Sam Presti can really contend for an NBA championship in the league’s most redneck market. I mean, Oke City makes Salt Lake look like Paris….the one in France, not Texas btw.
I watched all the Thunder’s summer league games last summer and probably will do the same again as the Summer League kicks back in gear next week. The Thunder for some inexplicable reason just took another guard/swingman in the NBA draft with the selection of Cason Wallace from Kentucky. I have not the slightest clue as to why Sam Presti would do this because he already has I think eight guards/swingmen on his roster.
Presti used his second round pick on Keyontae Johnson from K State who I saw play quite a bit last year with the K State Wildcats in Big 12 play. He was okay, nothing really special from my view as he fizzled in the NCAA Tournament and if I remember correctly he’s 23 years of age which would make him ancient for an NBA draftee. Color me confused.
So now as I sit out here at the mini-ranch in Deer Creek, Oklahoma wearing a Golden State T-shirt and a Denver NBA championship ball cap …. I feel as if I need to finally make a post on the still evolving Thunder.
The Thunder actually went 41-43 which was nice given the fact Vegas like me tabbed them to win around 25 games or so. But here’s the thing which may haunt the Thunder…. Chet Holmgren unlike the obese Zion Williamson appears to be a brittle porcelein doll of sorts. If he gets bumped into again this season and breaks then it would appear Sam Presti may have pissed away the second pick of the draft on a big man he so desperately needs.
In the play-in loss to the Minnesota TWolves it was obscene watching Karl Anthony-Townes and Rudy Gobert play with the little children Sam Presti had out on the court. True, the NBA game has changed for certain. It’s a perimeter, finese, space league for skilled players. But to win a championship in this league you still need an elite big of sorts to hoist the O’Brien Trophy.
Simply look at the past four years and the bigs on the winning team. Anthony Davis, Giannis, Kevon the Moral Compass, and now Jokic. With the exception of Kevon, the other three are stars who can or did carry their teams. I mean, let’s be candid… even before LeBron broke Chet the Gonzaga flash was outplayed by OKC’s own role player from Arkansas J-Will. I mean…J-Will was the better player as the Hogs eliminated the fragile Gonzaga Zags. Is it fair of me to say at this point Chet could possibly be a bigger bust than Adam Morrison? We’ll see.
But otherwise, putting Chet aside…I do see some promise for the Thunder to be an entertaining team which flirts on the outskirts of being a playoff team even if Chet doesn’t turn out to be a consequential NBA player. If he turns out to be let’s say as good as another former Gonzaga alum in Domas Sabonis….I would say the Thunder’s ceiling as pressently constructed would to maybe win a first round series.
From my view SGA, J Dub, Giddy, hopefully Chet, and Dort give the Thunder an interesting core for their first five, I would do this though… I’d move J Will to the starting five and attempt to transform Josh Giddy into the league’s premier sixth man like the Spurs did with Ginobli. That’s what I would do.
Of course, I’ve always loved Kenrich Williams and I think Aaron Wiggins is a player that can evolve into a top eight type of player. Other than those eight players I’d be willing to trade any of the other Thunder players/ assets to bring two vets on board like Calvin Booth did with KCP and Bruce Brown. It’s that sly GM who bring a PJ Tucker, a Gary Payton Jr., a Bruce Brown or a KCP on board who fills the last missing piece of a championship team.
Here’s a crazy trade I’d go for, but it would probably never happen. How about Sam Presti calls the Memphis Grizzlies and says, “How about I give you Josh Giddy, Poku, and a second round pick and you give me Marcus Smart?” Hell…throw in Tre Mann as well. A franchise defining trade of sorts which puts a premium on TSSN and overall court toughness.
That’s it for me as far as my current thoughts on the Thunder. We received 1.5 inches in the rain gauge out here this morning at the ranch in Deer Creek.
It’s supposed to be 106 degrees tomorrow….I wish I were back in Crested Butte fly fishing for brown trout.
God bless you.