Thunder general manager Sam Presti isn't trying to win a championship, he's trying to build a perennial winner.
by Berry Tramel
Modified: June 1, 2010 at 5:04 am •
Published: June 1, 2010
/articleid/3465244/1/pictures/967111"> Thunder general manager Sam Presti, left, isn't trying to win just one championship, he's trying to build a perennial winner.
Photo by John Clanton, The Oklahoman
"The only reason any of us exist is the dream and hope of doing that.”
Williams did just that as general manager of the 1983 76ers.
"I would argue that long-term contending is not good enough,” Williams said.
Right idea. Wrong sport. The NBA is not the NFL. A Super Bowl is there for the taking most years. Just ask New Orleans.
Ask any team in the NFC, which has been won the last nine years by nine franchises, and none of the nine include the Cowboys, Redskins, 49ers, Vikings and Packers, who have combined to appear in 26 of the 44 Super Bowls.
The all-in philosophy can pay off in the NFL. It doesn't work in the NBA, unless you're the Lakers or Celtics, who seem to have divine-right status.
For a limited-market franchise like the Thunder, better to stay prudent. Better to follow the path of the Jazz or the Spurs, who basically have remained contenders for 20 years, with few hiccups. That philosophy has brought titles to San Antonio, and while Salt Lake City awaits its first championship, no one can dispute that those long Utah winters have been made more bearable by quality basketball.
Better to be ready with a contending squad when the Earth cracks and a title chance appears than to force the issue with roster moves that could cost you future success.
Williams himself said a championship is as much happenstance as anything.
"It's hard,” Williams said. "It's real hard. Everything's gotta work out for you. Health, breaks, scheduling favors. Injuries on the other team don't hurt. Everything has to work perfectly.”
Presti's plan gives the Thunder the best chance to be ready when those cosmos align.
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...