We’re officially one day closer to the weekend.
The first sip
The Oklahoma City Thunder got more disappointing news yesterday as it was revealed that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will miss at least the start of training camp with a grade 2 MCL sprain. This comes on the heels of the news that Summer League standout and number 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren will miss the entire season with a foot injury. SGA’s injury is less severe, but there’s still every reason to believe this will only accelerate Thunder GM Sam Presti’s desire to tank in hopes of landing either Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson.
It’s interesting to think about the Thunder’s rebuild with how it compares and contrasts with the Cavs. Both teams were forced to transition from competing for championships due to the departure of generational talent. While the Cavs didn’t have the supporting cast to even stay relevant without LeBron James, the Thunder found ways to remain a playoff team for four years after Kevin Durant’s departure before tearing it all down. They were then able to jumpstart their rebuild with three separate trades offloading future hall-of-famers in Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Chris Paul.
Those trades have given the Thunder a lot of draft picks, but having picks doesn’t solve all of your problems. A boatload of picks doesn’t mean you can easily move up in the draft for a generational talent like they reportedly tried to do for Evan Mobley. They will likely meet the same fate if they try to trade up for Wembanyama or Henderson next year if they fall outside the top of the lottery.
Trading for nearly every first round pick is obviously the right strategy, but there are limits to what all that can get you. There’s more luck involved in team building then we’d sometimes like to think. Fortunately for the Cavs, they’ve had things fall right for them a couple times.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cavs new uniforms when they were first announced. But, I have to admit they look pretty great on Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen. I can’t wait to see how they look in-game.
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