OKC Thunder: 10 young cores who offer templates for rebuilding

OKC Thunder rebuild Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates with Jaylen Brown (7) : Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder rebuild Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates with Jaylen Brown (7) : Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /
6 of 6
OKC Thunder
OKC Thuinder rebuild: Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) : Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

Could combo strategy be the best option for OKC Thunder?

The top-ranked U25 team in The Ringer article is the Celtics who took the most unconventional approach of these nine teams. Danny Ainge began the rebuild in 2013-14 which consequently is the only year the Celtics missed the playoffs in the last 13 seasons.

Ainge used OTP (other team’s picks) to restructure the roster while simultaneously remaining competitive. Undeniably luck played a role in the success of this strategy because the teams Boston owned picks from had to fail and those draft classes needed to produce generational talents. Playing a major factor in this situation was who the teams were in the infamous 2017 draft at the top of the board.

More from Thunderous Intentions

While Boston held the top pick the Lakers were second and the 76ers were third. Circumstance however meant both those teams were covetous of point guards and since Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball were both deemed potential stars Ainge used it to his advantage trading down to the third spot obtaining another first-round pick from Philly in the process.

Oh — and he got the best player in the draft — Jayson Tatum. It should also be noted here because Tatum was selected third it actually saved the Celtics millions because rookie contracts are scaled based on where they are selected.

In closing

The perfect storm of getting to make high lottery selections from other team’s picks and simultaneously remain competitive should be the objective. That said in these next two years specifically it would behoove the OKC Thunder to aim for those bottom ladder rungs.

However, after the 2022 class and assuming the Thunder land some quality prospects that’s when they’ll have to reexamine the board. Much will depend on where the teams are that they own draft picks from like the Rockets, Clippers, Heat, and others.

Ultimately, Sam Presti and the OKC Thunder have choices — lots of them. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort is a great foundational start. Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon were intelligent choices – big risk or not.

Plus they’ve made moves to bolster their scouting. Presti might not be able to repeat history by drafting three future MVP’s in successive years.

But, with 18 potential first-round draft picks in the next seven years and counting the franchise is set up better than any team in the NBA.

Next. Thunder among leaders in NBA offseason Power Rankings. dark