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Oklahoma City Thunder: Other opportunities arise when changes occur

General manager Sam Presti excited to see which players step up, play a bigger role after trade sent James Harden to Rockets
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 28, 2012

Sam Presti on Sunday afternoon was asked a two-part question that shell-shocked Thunder fans near and far are still trying to figure out.

What will be missed most following the trade of James Harden to Houston, and how does Kevin Martin address some of those losses?

Presti immediately stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park.

“I think one of the things in sports in general that sometimes is tricky is when there are changes sometimes we get fixated on trying to replicate things,” Presti said. “I think we'll be different. I think we'll look a little different … But I think we've got to let it play itself out a little bit.”

Give it time.

That's the best thing Thunder fans can do following Saturday's blockbuster trade that shocked basketball enthusiasts and potentially shook up the NBA landscape.

But while some Harden supporters needed less than 24 hours to detach themselves from their lovable lefty, it seemed they still couldn't quite wrap their minds around how the Thunder will march on without him.

“Clearly, James is a very talented player,” Presti said while discussing the deal at a news conference. “If he wasn't, we wouldn't have been able to get Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and several valuable draft picks back.”

But life goes on.

The Thunder will still contend.

Martin is career 18.4 point scorer and, when at the top of is game, is one of the most efficient scorers in the league. He's a sharpshooting guard who is as adept at coming off curls as he is working his way to the foul line. With those traits, Martin possesses the potential to give the Thunder a different type of threat with his ability to play off the ball. Harden, by contrast, was best with the ball in his hands, which naturally took away from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant at times.

As Martin gets acclimated to the Thunder, he is expected to slide into Harden's old role as sixth man. OKC won't get nearly as much of the playmaking out of Martin as we came to expect with Harden. But with the return of Eric Maynor from last season's knee injury, the Thunder got back its top setup man at the point guard spot. Along with Martin, Maynor can captain the second unit with Nick Collison much like Harden did.

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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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