Some people collect stamps, stones, or sports cards, but Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti collects draft picks like they go out of style.
A busy week in the NBA continued on Friday morning, with news that the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Kemba Walker from the Boston Celtics. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder will also get the 16th pick in this year’s draft and a second-round pick in 2025. Al Horford, Moses Brown and a second-round pick in 2023 will go to Boston as part of the deal.
On the one hand, the acquisition of Walker is a winning decision for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. But over the years, with both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook gone, Presti has clearly prioritized adding trades draft picks. Priority, with a capital “P”.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Sam Presti in charge as the next five draft
Check out the list of draft picks Presti and the Thunder have racked up.
The only way the Thunder can get Houston’s first-round pick this year is if they fall in the top four (unlikely, but not impossible). But they will have their own choice, with a 45.1% chance that it will rank in the top four when the lottery ping-pong balls soon drop (according to Tankathon). The picks from Miami and now Boston will give them two more top 20 picks. They also have three second-round picks this year, with a total of five top 36 picks.
Then, from 2022 to 2026, the Thunder could have three first-round picks in four of the five draft. Only a choice swap with the Clippers in 2023 keeps him from being locked in in three first rounds in four of those five drafts.
The kind of draft capital Presti has collected for the Thunder gives them valuable trading assets. If there’s a bad deal that they have to unload at any time over the next few years, tying a first-round pick won’t be a problem.