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The third pick in the draft is going to work out just fine. It may not be BG, but the future of the Thunder would be bright regardless of where we would have drafted. Why? Sam Presti.
From TrueHoop: http://myespn.go.com/nba/truehoop
The Compass: Sam Presti
Two seats to John Kehriotis' right, Oklahoma GM Sam Presti is rubbing a small antique compass. His team moved up one spot, from fourth, to third. He says the compass was a gift from his girlfriend. And it worked, as they moved north one spot.
Presti has a reputation for being guarded with the media. In a way, it seems ill-founded. We talked for twenty minutes about all kinds of stuff. I took notes the entire time. But then I read those notes and ... really ... he didn't say anything that would make headlines.
For instance, I asked about his team's approach to statistical analysis, and whether or not they were one of the teams that charted plays to create their own statistical database, like the Rockets. His response: "I really value information, whether it's subjective of objective. I always want to have as much of it as I can ... I don't think we'll all end up doing it the same way, and that's what makes the NBA what it is. For us, we like information. But not a lot of teams are going to keep up with [Houston GM Morey] Daryl and his crew. They are a really innovative group that has done a great job."
(For what it's worth, I have it on good authority the Thunder do retain a stat expert.)
I asked about his ho-hum reaction to learning he had moved up a spot. "That's just kind of me," he said. And then he talked about how it was kind of nice to be able to better hone in the player research that must be done between now and the draft.
He's more passionate on the topic of building a winner. We talked a lot about how the players on the Thunder only won 23 games, but they have a process and a system that the whole organization believes in, and through all the losing nobody pointed fingers at each other. He talked about having building blocks. He talked about how every player and even coach Scott Brooks had committed to improving over the summer. (What would that entail? "A lot of film work, visiting players, visiting other coaches and picking their brains, self analysis ...")
"We like the direction," he says. "We feel we have been able to accumulate players with the right mindset, and they're working with passion to get better. This is another opportunity to get one of those players."
Really enjoyed that. And you are right, I am not worried by whom ever we pick as Sam is doing the picking.
"....through all the losing nobody pointed fingers at each other." There's the key phrase, IMO. If you have quality players, if they blame anyone, they blame themselves. Then, they work as hard as they can to get better. That's why the Thunder were so watchable despite their awful record: They never stopped caring, they never stopped trying.
DM has a very good Q&A with Presti on his blog as well....
Q: Can you speak to the leverage the third pick could possibly give you if you wanted to make a trade and move up?
A: I don’t want to sound too obvious, but having the third pick is a lot better than having the fourth. And when you have three you wish you had two. But this is definitely a great position for us to be in. I think we’ll definitely get some phone calls and we’ll have some options. We also like the group of players that will be there. I’m excited because this is a fun time of year for our organization. We feel like we have a good energy to what we’re doing, and having a chance to pick third only helps push the momentum behind what we’re trying to accomplish in Oklahoma City.