Cole Aldrich, the well-known center from Kansas that the Oklahoma City Thunder bartered to acquire in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft, grabbed the next day's headlines and will arrive with expectations of providing immediate relief.
But it's Tibor Pleiss, the little-known center from Germany that the Thunder plucked in the second round, who could one day prove to be the better player.
Pleiss was projected by some draft analysts to be a first-round selection. When the Thunder landed the 31st overall pick's draft rights from Atlanta for cash, those same analysts called Pleiss a steal.
"To get this guy with the 31st pick, and you don't have to pay him the rookie salary scale, an absolute steal," ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said immediately after the pick. "Sam Presti and his scouting staff I think have come up with a gem here, because in a draft with a lot of quality big guys this young guy has long term potential."
Pleiss will remain in Germany to play in the Euroleague next season, Thunder general manager Presti said Thursday night. But that's considered a positive considering the Thunder is short on roster spots and Pleiss, still only 20, needs plenty of seasoning.
But Pleiss stands 7-foot-1 and has agility and a soft shooting touch rarely seen in players his size.
"Obviously anytime someone's 7-foot-2 they're going to stand out a little bit," said Rob Hennigan, director of college/international player personnel. "But it wasn't so much the size we saw in Tibor. It was more the substance. We saw a guy who could move really well. We saw a guy who had some dexterity and a guy who seems to really enjoy playing."
Remember that last trait.
In scouting Pleiss, the Thunder's staff discovered a young man with a deep passion for the game.
"I know that sounds simple," Hennigan said, "but it's hard to find players nowadays who really love to play, especially players who are Tibor's size."
Oklahoma City has seen its fair share of flops — Mo Sene, Johan Petro, Robert Swift.
Pleiss is expected to be different. He comes from a hard-working German upbringing and is unafraid of taking his toughness to the court.
"Speaking with him during our interview process, he mentioned his family as real inspiration for him in learning how to work and persevere and fight his way through things," Hennigan said.
"He also talked a lot about just loving the game for what it is that the game represents. He sees the game as something that demands hard work and if you put hard work into it then you hope to be rewarded."
Pleiss has had to be patient since debuting in the German leagues. He averaged just 3.2 minutes on his club team in 2006-07, 6.5 minutes in 2007-08 and only 12 minutes in 2008-09. This season, Pleiss averaged 8.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.9 minutes as a reserve.
"This kid...at 7-1, maybe 7-2, was the most improved player in Europe this year," Fraschilla said. "He runs well, he catches well, he shoots it well. Think of a young Rik Smits."
Weighing just 220 pounds, Pleiss will need to beef up to bang with big men in the NBA. But the Thunder anticipates him being a factor defensively through his length and agility.
"His body still has a lot of room for growth," Hennigan said. "Despite the fact that he might be not as physically strong as he will be someday, he's still not afraid to fight for loose rebounds and pursue balls at the rim.
"He has some real savvy defensively, and I think once his body catches up with his instincts and his savvy that's when you'll really see his defense take off."
Nabbing the more notable first-rounder bought Oklahoma City time to be patient.