Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade and 13 other genius Thunder moves Sam Presti nailed

Sam Presti and the Thunder absolutely nailed these moves.

Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti
Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY
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12. Drafting Serge Ibaka

Presti took a key piece of the Thunder’s first core with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The 6’11 big man from the Republic of Congo did not come with a ton of fanfare. He did not even play in the NBA in the first year after being drafted, but Ibaka quickly became crucial for Oklahoma City.

The 20-year-old came off the bench in year one before transforming into their defensive anchor. He vaulted into an elite defender just as the Thunder leaped into contention. Ibaka was first-team All-Defense for three straight years from 2012 to 2014 and finished in the top four in Defensive Player of the Year voting each season. He twice led the league in blocks and helped OKC make three conference finals appearances in four years.

The Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook Thunder do not have the same success without Serge Ibaka. They needed a big man to protect the rim and get necessary stops. Ibaka produced the fourth-highest win shares in the 2008 NBA Draft class and was an absolute find by Sam Presti at 24th overall.

Serge Ibaka played seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder before the franchise decided to move on. Presti hit a second home run when trading the 6’11 big man.