The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of a rebuild, a month away from their second draft since the rebuild began and former NBA player and Thunder broadcaster Antonio Daniels joined the Locked on Thunder podcast to break down the rebuild.
Antonio Daniels was the fourth pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, heading to Vancouver to play one year with the Grizzlies before they shipped him to San Antonio where he won an NBA Championship in 1999. Following his 13-year NBA career, Daniels became a broadcaster for the OKC Thunder working pre-and-post game shows for the team for many years until he got an opportunity to elevate his career by heading to New Orleans as their color commentator. Still, Daniels is familiar with the interworking of the NBA and has worked with Sam Presti before.
Antonio Daniels gives insight into the OKC Thunder rebuild and NBA Draft process on the Locked on Thunder Podcast
Antonio Daniels began by talking about the NBA Draft process and mentioned how important it is to have a solid mix of veteran players and young prospects. He explained his stance by saying “The best thing to happen to me in my career was being traded from Vancouver to San Antonio” saying the Spurs had a system in place to help him become a professional which allowed him to stay in the NBA. Installing those professional habits in players is the difference in the prospect taking that next step, especially if you hope the player becomes a superstar.
while the interview was chalked full of great insight into how players deal with smokescreens and trade rumors and Daniels confirmed Sam Presti runs by moves to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the staple of the interview was the former NBA player stressing OKC Thunder fans to not be disgruntled during the rebuild process.
Daniels said “This is a rebuild, not a retool. The Thunder fanbase is used to retooling, but this is a full-on rebuild. You have to be patient.” That is a great message to remember ahead of Draft night which is only the second NBA Draft so far in this rebuild that starts with a foundation of Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tre Mann, and Lu Dort along with a historic pile of draft picks.