The Chris Paul home interview left the tower tipping, and now with the firing of Billy Donovan, it’s begun to fall down in OKC. With the Thunder moving on from their star duo in Paul George and Russell Westbrook, a new age was upon them already.
They received as many as 15 first round picks over the next seven years, as well as rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, all-star veteran Chris Paul, and talented scorer Danilo Gallanari in return, seemingly winning both trades. Now going into full rebuild mode, this team might have the most assets in the league, and the ability to aquire even more.
The Thunder blew everyone’s expectations out of the water this year, with many guys overperforming to inevitably making a truly special run to the playoffs.
They increased many player’s trade values, with guys like Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallanari, Steven Adams, Abdel Nader, and Nerlens Noel all rising. Mike Muscala and Andre Roberson are very experienced as well. All of these vets should be availiable, as now is the time to make a move if Thunder General Manager Sam Presti wants to maximize this teams future.
With so many guys on the block, this team still has a bright future, with the rising scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, inside-out slasher Darius Bazley, and lockdown defender Lugentz Dort, all of which are under 23 and have plenty of room to grow. Other young talent includes Terence Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo, raw athletic wings who are solid defensively but have room to grow on the other side of the ball.
Although I do think Billy Donovan would have been a good developmental coach to bring along for the ride, a guy like Kenny Atkinson has been toughted as a great developmental coach as well. They need a coach to preach a winning mentality, while developing the current and incoming young talent the Thunder will acquire.
OKC doesn’t want to fall to a Bulls-level tanking, preaching a loosing mentality in order to get a higher draft pick, but they want to be in the lottery. I’m excited to see what Sam Presti and the rest of the Thunder’s front office can achieve, and if Shai can manage to make the All-Star jump.
Photo: Thunderous Intentions