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OKC's Presti preaches patience ahead of 3rd rebuilding season

Adam Pantozzi / National Basketball Association / Getty

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti is calling for patience ahead of another rebuilding season for his team.

"I don't think anybody would say that we're not a work in progress,"Presti said at a press conference Thursday. "At the same time, I think we're a better team than we were this time last year, and we're going to be a better team at the end of this season."

He added, "When we get back to the postseason, it's not going to happen because of one season. … It's always a series of seasons that adds up."

Oklahoma City moved on from head coach Billy Donovan and traded Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns in the 2020 offseason, kick-starting its long-term rebuilding project.

Since then, the Thunder finished one spot above last place in the Western Conference twice, with a win-loss record of 46-108 (.298).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossomed into a star since Paul's departure, averaging 24.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.

However, the 24-year-old missed 63 games over the last two seasons due to various injuries and will miss the start of training camp due to a knee sprain.

Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick from this year's draft, will miss the whole season due to a foot injury.

Presti said there are no long-term concerns Gilgeous-Alexander being injury-prone or Holmgren's development being set back.

"Shai is just entering his pre-prime years," Presti said, according to The Oklahoman's Joe Mussatto. "Josh (Giddey), Chet, some of the other guys we have are still a few years away from getting to that point. At some point, you're going to have those tenures overlap. That's extremely exciting."

Presti said he's set on building a long-term playoff contender from the ground up.

"I really want the people here to experience another postseason. … And when we get there, it's going to be not because we took the easiest path. It's because we did it organically," Presti said.

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