Top 5 areas of focus for Sam Presti to consider during Summer League

Hamidou Diallo, OKC Thunder, (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Hamidou Diallo, OKC Thunder, (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Sam Presti, Billy Donovan, OKC Thunder
Sam Presti, Billy Donovan, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

An out of the blue trade sending Paul George to LA creates an immediate shift in how OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti assesses the Summer League roster. Here are the top five areas of focus.

When this article was in the initial stages of conception the OKC Thunder were preparing for a completely alternate reality next season. The roster centered around two superstars who potentially were robbed of opportunity this past season due to untimely injuries.

Surrounding Russell Westbrook and Paul George was arguably the most feared big man defender, Steven Adams, a capable scoring backup point guard in Dennis Schroder, rising talents Jerami Grant and Terrance Ferguson along with a host of youthful assets.

Although Sam Presti had cited the salary sheet as concerning there was a commitment to winning during OKC’s two superstar’s primes. Presti was faced with the task of adding depth while simultaneously decreasing the overhead.

The General Managers initial moves included the addition of a floor-spacing forward in Mike Muscala and shooting guard with playmaking skills in Alec Burks. Neither addition was of the jaw-dropping variety but both were reasonably priced and more importantly capable of upgrading the Thunder lackluster perimeter and shooting efficiencies. On top of these signings, Presti managed to get Nerlens Noel to re-sign an extremely cost effective contract thereby ensuring a backup to Adams familiar with the team’s system.

At face value, Presti had added depth, checked off some roster gap boxes and still had the remainder of the summer to make further tweaks. Heading into Vegas Summer League it was presumed the existing young assets were earmarked to fill in many of the other gaps with increased roles. All of this to say, the OKC Thunder were prepping to be among the West’s title contenders.

Related Story. Get to know the Thunder Vegas Summer League squad. light

That was until Kawhi Leonard lowered the boom to join the LA Clippers and had worked in concert with Paul George to ensure he would do so with another top level talent at his side.

There is much to dissect regarding the shocking trade of George and how his exit affects next season and the future direction of the team. Given the haul of draft picks and at least one extremely talented asset with a very high ceiling arriving there are choices to be made.

Prior to a definitive direction being set the Thunder will assess the Summer League roster with a revised focus. Pre-trade Presti and Donovan were looking for who could fill in minutes and help check off specific boxes. Post trade, those same players will be analyzed from a different perspective.

With that, let’s consider what the specific focus will be.