The art of consolidation.
In NBA terms, consolidation is typically used to pack two smaller picks for a larger one, or to tag a crowd of players for a star — similar to Carmelo Anthony‘s move to New York.
To the Sam Presti, he is well acquainted with this art of trading. And with four top-35 picks at his disposal, he could draw on that practice.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lived big after draft night, bringing home picks 2 and 12 from Mark Tatum’s envelopes. Aside from a sponsorship offer, it’s hard to imagine Presti changing the #2 choice, especially considering how lengthy the lottery process is. With pick #12, it wouldn’t be crazy for Presti to make a trade-up play. However, the asking price could be high depending on who would be available — again making a consolidation unlikely.
The real food for thought comes in the Thunder’s last two picks – picks 30 and 34.
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For the past two draft cycles, Sam Presti has relied on this selection of picks to climb the board. Last season, the Thunder traded picks 34 and 36 for Nab Jeremiah Robinson-Earl at pick #32. In the 2020 draft, The Thunder repeated this process, dealing picks 25 and 28 alongside Ricky Rubio for the 17th pick – Alexei Pokusevsky.
In dissolving the board, OKC has a strong bid to break into the 20s with this pick. Both spots have some weight and the 34th pick isn’t guaranteed since he’s a second round player. This is valuable for teams swimming in repeat control. The Orlando Magic would also have that advantage since their tandem of 32 and 35 are both non-guaranteed contracts.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder carrying the league’s youngest roster and 19 first-round picks, they’ll be laden with roster fillers for a while. The kicker – the team’s 15 standard deals will always remain a constant. For that reason, bagging picks to get “their man” could be a strategy the Thunder are skipping and continuing to pursue this season when looting their lottery loot.
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