Sam Presti offers 5 key insights for OKC Thunder 2019-20 campaign

OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media availability (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What precisely is this iteration of the OKC Thunder?

If there were one question fans are eager to get a definitive answer from Presti about it would be precisely what they should expect from this year’s team. In typical Sam Presti fashion, he refused to commit. The overriding question is why the GM is so reticent to commit.

Perhaps the most logical answer here is with players like Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari on the squad it wouldn’t behoove him to enter the season with the mindset “we’re throwing in the towel”.  Both vets are uber-competitive so they’ll not only have victories on their minds but will be anxious to prove their mettle to increase their number of suitors.

Nor would it help for the bearded man to let his fellow GMs know his mandate is to move players at season start. That would only serve to lower their value and what the man known as the magician could get in return for those players services. To wit, at 28:45 of the video Presti offers:

"You have to be able to I think internalize that and get excited about the challenge, which is what I think we always are. It’s the challenge in front of us to maximize ourselves, and whether it’s this season or a longer term plan like we’ve talked about, like that’s — we’re game for that."

It’s also worth noting the first month of the season is a nightmare for the OKC Thunder. By far the hardest itinerary of any club in the Association. Of their first 20 games 14 are versus last seasons playoff teams plus two against the LeBron James, Anthony Davis revamped Lakers and three against the Zion Williamson led Pelicans.

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For as much as the team could find themselves buried after the first 20 games what if they aren’t? Recalling most pundits assumed the Clippers would fold like a cheap suit once they jettisoned Tobias Harris to the 76ers they refused to succumb and went on to push the Warriors in the first round to six games. Two of the key players on that Clippers team (Gallo and SGA) now play for the Thunder.

Factor in, if there was an award for who is the most aggressive competitor in the NBA it might very well come down to Russell Westbrook and CP3.

Either way, we aren’t going to find Presti giving in this early in the process. While the team is likely to still move Gallinari given his contract situation it’s not a guarantee. It’s more than likely – but not a guarantee.

Certainly, if the Thunder are 5-15 after those 20 games things could take a dramatic shift. For now, fans should enter the season with an open mind. Focus on what the team’s potential core could be and if they falter early expect moves to happen sooner as opposed to later.

Next. Biggest question Presti must answer about 2019-20 season. dark

Sam Presti isn’t likely ever to show his cards in this regard and will always find the silver lining to any situation. What we do know is this season offers the most uncertainty combined with the greatest potential for a lottery visit.