Sam Presti’s one major shortcoming and OKC Thunder player Lakers should covet

OKC Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan, General Manager Sam Presti (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan, General Manager Sam Presti (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /
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In the news dives into Sam Presti’s one major weakness and the OKC Thunder player the Lakers should keep an eye on.

OKC Thunder in the news for Monday, August 26 features Bill Simmons podcast with Stephen A. Smith who nails why the team has yet to win a title in spite of the talent they had on hand. In addition, the one specific Thunder player who could answer the Lakers roster issues.

Sam Presti’s major shortcoming:

It’s not a common denominator for me to agree with Stephen A. Smith. In fairness to the ESPN pundit, his First Take show often feels like he and co-panelist Maz Kellerman pre-decide which side of the debate they’re going to take and then prep for their arguments.

We’re often left with the feeling either man could take the opposing side of the argument and spin it with their own special verve.

However, in a recent appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast he jumped on a topic I’m inclined to side with him on. Specifically, Smith feels the reason the OKC Thunder never won a title was because of who was at the coaching helm.

It’s hard to argue the fact, especially now, witnessing Scott Brooks inability to push the Washington Wizards into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference despite having what many deemed to be the best backcourt in the East (prior to Wall’s injury).

But, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn’t feel Billy Donovan’s tenure in OKC had run its course even prior to Kevin Durant walking, let alone definitely three years later to still be at the helm.

Simmons and Smith discuss the craziness of having three MVPs on one squad plus Serge Ibaka and even Reggie Jackson and not having more than one final’s appearance and one victory from that trip to show for it.  Arguably, Presti should take heed of this podcast and be ready to pull the plug on Donovan early on this season. And, if (fingers crossed – when) he does, make sure to vet a number of top-end coaches for the new iteration of the OKC Thunder.

"Do you know the No. 1 reason why I believe the Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have a championship to show for Sam Presti’s obvious excellence as an executive? Because his one flaw are the coaches he’s picked. – – – –But you’ve got to look at the coaches he’s selected. You know this, I know this, anybody knows this: Don’t tell me you couldn’t have given a better option to that level of talent than a Billy Donovan or Scott Brooks. I think he’s come up short in that regard, so I think that’s worth discussing."

Now, granted in the same podcast Smith and Simmons are suggesting Masai Ujiri should’ve left Toronto immediately after winning the title citing how the Raptors will be terrible and have nowhere to go but down. I mean I get why Simmons feels that way (Celtics fan), but I’m starting to think Smith is also another main U.S. pundit who views Toronto as a G-League level franchise.

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Maybe they aren’t aware the Raptors still have Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby (who many teams covet) and will enter next summer with the MOST disposable salary to rebuild with since all of Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka as well as Fred VanVleet will be unrestricted free agents.

Why is it every other team with players in a similar contract situation on their squads are deemed to have so many advantages?

Depending on where the Raptors are seeded at the trade deadline why wouldn’t Masai Ujiri trade one of those players in exchange for young assets? I’m confused why the same thinking isn’t afforded to debatably the best GM in the Association.

Moreover, I’m not convinced Ujiri wouldn’t trade Gasol or Ibaka to land a young asset he could pair alongside Siakam and Anunoby and with all the existing veteran assets not be relevant. I guess we’ll find out, but this willingness to completely abandon Toronto feels awfully similar to last season when these same guys had the Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, Pacers and some even had the Heat all ranked ahead of Toronto. Again, we’ll see.

Okay – rant over; clearly, I’m starting the week off fired up.

Lakers should earmark this OKC Thunder player:

Speaking of teams trades, one OKC Thunder player who the Lakers should keep an eye on this season is Nerlens Noel. Although it appears LA intends to sign Dwight Howard the jury is still out on how he’ll fit with the current iteration at Staples. Since Noel can’t be signed until December 15th given his recent re-signing the timing works.

"Enter the OKC Thunder who could offer a solution. That player for OKC is Nerlens Noel who might be the perfect fit alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James. He certainly would be a stay at home big who would offer rim protection and rebounding. Those are the preeminent requirements the Lakers are asking from Howard."

I compared Noel and Howard and why the former makes more sense for the Lakers. However, there isn’t much at this point Rob Pelinka could offer Presti in exchange for Noel given his economical contract.

Next. Top 15 NBA Draft picks in Thunder franchise history. dark

That completes in the news for Monday, August 26th. Make sure to check back today as our features offer articles on why Andre Roberson isn’t an automatic trade option, 3 key areas Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can improve and why Sam Presti can draw inspiration from Damian Lillard and De’Aaron Fox in the OKC Thunder rebuild. Enjoy your day.