Oklahoma City Thunder: With unexpected choices, Sam Presti's up to his old draft night tricks again

How many times have we seen this? How many times have we realized he was right? The Thunder general manager selected Michigan power forward Mitch McGary with the 21st pick, then took Stanford small forward Josh Huestis with the 29th pick.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 26, 2014

I mean, really think about the moment you heard those players’ names announced as the Thunder’s picks. No way you were fired up about every one of them.

But now, you struggle to think of them wearing anything other than Thunder blue.

Why couldn’t the same be true of McGary and Huestis?

No doubt there are questions about these picks. That’s allowable. McGary, for example, is a big man who’s had back problems. That alone is reason to raise a red flag. But he’s also a guy who failed an NCAA drug test and faced a one-year suspension.

Doesn’t exactly sound like a guy with that Thunder DNA.

But if you watched the 6-foot-10, 255-pound McGary when he was healthy as a freshman at Michigan, he was reminiscent of a guy beloved by the Thunder. He was a young Nick Collison.

Now, will he become Collison 2.0? Or will he be another Cole Aldrich?

Every Presti move on draft night isn’t gold, after all.

He didn’t get a spot-up shooter that this team could so desperately use. Derek Fisher is gone. Thabo Sefolosha and Caron Butler seem sure to follow. And that leaves Jeremy Lamb and … crickets. Another guy who can fill it up from outside would’ve been good.

Maybe that guy is coming in free agency. Maybe a trade is already in the works. But the draft is where the Thunder has built, where it has established its core as well as its complementary parts, where it has acquired other pieces like future picks that could be packaged later. The draft is where Sam Presti has been at his best.

But maybe he was again Thursday night.

Time will tell what comes of McGary and Huestis, of course, but just remember the track record that Presti has on draft night. There have been way more stars than busts, way more reasons to trust than doubt.

Just because a Presti pick hits with a thud on draft night doesn’t mean it’s going to be a clunker.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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