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