The NBA offseason is a time for teams to reflect on the previous season and make decisions about the direction of the franchise. For some teams, it is a time to continue the long rebuilding process.
For others, it is an opportunity to make a splash and hope to become a playoff team. And for teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, legit contenders, it is a time to figure out why they weren’t holding the Larry O’ Brien Trophy at the end of the season and what they need to do in order to win an NBA championship next season.
The question I am asking is, have the Thunder done enough this offseason to put them in a better position to win an NBA title?
The Thunder’s biggest offseason move was the signing of Anthony Morrow. First off, that is a problem. No knock on Morrow, he is a fine player who will fit into the Thunder’s system and will make the Thunder’s offense more spaced and effective. However, just read the first sentence of this paragraph again.
Thunder obviously had holes last season. They were playing veterans Caron Butler and Derek Fisher crunch time minutes in crucial playoff games. Nick Collison continues to get older and can’t stay out of foul trouble. Steven Adams was better than most expected him to be last season, but he is still just not there yet.
Lastly, Kendrick Perkins is the starting center.
And Anthony Morrow was their biggest offseason move. I am not sure if he is putting them over the top.
The Thunder had a real chance to improve in one of the deepest drafts of the last decade. With two picks in the first round (Nos. 21 and 29), they were in a good position to possibly snag an impact player.
They grabbed big man Mitch McGary at No. 21. I liked the pick, but they could have gotten him with the No. 29 pick. Guys like Rodney Hood, P.J. Hairston, or C.J. Wilcox would have fit very nicely in a role on the Thunder.
Getting one of those guys at No. 21 and taking McGary at No. 29 would have felt like a win on draft night.
With the No. 29 pick, they selected Josh Huestis out of Stanford. At the time, I kind of liked the pick.
He was one of the best defenders in college basketball and I had just watched him completely shut down the No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Wiggins, just a couple months before in the NCAA tournament. I figured he would be a replacement for Thabo Sefolosha.
Well, he still might be, but it is going to be a few years before we find out.
Huestis and the Thunder agreed he would be stashed in the D-League during the draft process, making him the first player to ever really do that. Huestis agreed to it because he as not sure if he was going to even get drafted.
I am not surprised general manager Sam Presti did that. He has been unorthodox at times (not amnestying Perkins, the James Harden trade) and always seems to have a long-term goal, but the problem is he may not have much any type of long term plan, if he keeps striking out in the offseason.
They have had some bad breaks with injuries over the last couple years, but it is going to be a lot easier to leave the Thunder if they have not won a championship. And a big part of winning a championship is in the offseason.
What if Durant begins to question Presti and senses the window in Oklahoma City is closing? That becomes a problem for the franchise.
I thought this offseason was crucial for the Thunder because once again they will be one the favorites to win it all and about the future of their stars, but did they do enough bringing Morrow and drafting McGary and Huestis? Are they doing enough to convince Durant and Westbrook they are really trying to win?
It’s hard to think so.