Sam Presti, Thunder might opt for some draft-day maneuvering

BY JOHN ROHDE Staff Writer jrohde@opubco.com Published: June 22, 2011

The NBA Draft is Thursday, but to a certain extent it will be just like any other day for Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti.

"In this business, there's never really a period in time when you're not thinking on how to improve because we're all competitive," Presti said. "It's something we prepare for throughout the year. Every team looks at it as an opportunity to improve, but every year draft day is different."

OKC owns the No. 24 selection, but the Thunder might opt to do some maneuvering. As Presti said during his exit interview last month, his team likely will have an opportunity to maybe "move up, move back, move out."

Just 34 years old, Presti already has participated in 10 drafts, the first coming in 2001 with the San Antonio Spurs.

This will be his fifth draft with the Thunder organization, and the bottom-line results have been impressive:

— From a record of 20-62 in 2007-08 to a record of 55-27 in 2010-11.

— From finishing 34 games back in the Northwest Division to winning the division by five games last season.

— From being 30 wins short of qualifying for the playoffs to advancing to this year's Western Conference Finals.

Presti orchestrated the turnaround by drafting, dealing and dumping personnel, including a head coach, but readily admits there has been a far greater force.

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