Thunder following the pattern to build a franchise

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: November 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm •  Published: November 17, 2008
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Thunder general manager Sam Presti knew exactly what he was stepping into when he initiated this rebuilding process.

He knew there wouldn’t be a quick fix for this project and, frankly, he wasn’t interested in attempting one. Since taking the job in 2007, Presti has approached this task with the belief that to do it right called for patience and prudence through the rough times.

That’s why, crazy as it sounds, the Thunder’s current seven-game losing streak and NBA-worst 1-9 record can be viewed as growing pains that ultimately will help put Oklahoma City on the road leading to its desired destination.

Skeptical?

The proof is found over in Atlanta and New Orleans and up in Portland. Presti is mimicking those franchises’ building blueprints. The method typically takes three to four years of pain before teams even sniff the playoffs. But the payback is sustained success.

While any Thunder fan from Pocola to the Panhandle can see this team would be much improved with the addition of a shooter or two, Presti won’t be quick to pull the trigger on a deal simply to tack on a few more wins.

Instead, the plan is to provide the team’s young core of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Robert Swift and Johan Petro ample time to play together and learn the NBA’s ins and outs.

The Hornets did just that with Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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Blueprint to building
A look at the improvement of Atlanta, New Orleans and Portland.

Team 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Atlanta 13-69 26-56 30-52 37-45
New Orleans 18-64 38-44 39-43 56-26
Portland 27-55 21-61 32-50 41-41
Rockets at Thunder
→When: 7 tonight

→Where: Ford Center

→TV: FOX Sports Oklahoma (Cox. 37)

→Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.

Probable starters

Thunder (1-9)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Earl Watson 6-1 7.8 3.5 5.8
G Kevin Durant 6-9 21.1 4.1 1.9
F Jeff Green 6-9 15.2 6.3 2.2
F Nick Collison 6-10 6.5 6.5 1.1
C Robert Swift 7-0 3.6 6.2 0.0
Rockets (6-4)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Rafer Alston 6-2 8.5 2.8 4.1
G Tracy McGrady 6-8 16.7 4.8 4.8
F Ron Artest 6-7 14.2 5.0 2.7
F Luis Scola 6-9 10.8 6.8 0.6
C Yao Ming 7-6 16.7 9.3 1.1

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