No matter how many times Thunder general manager Sam Presti or coach Scott Brooks or Kevin Durant or Jeff Green would refute the label, fans and media types would keep it going.
The Thunder’s core consists of Durant, Green and Russell Westbrook. Before the 2009 NBA Draft, that description seemed largely accurate. But after seeing what the Thunder came away with Thursday night — and combining those additions with the current cast — you can start to see how the pieces are coming together. Presti has acquired 10 players through the draft over the last three drafts and another two cogs in free agency. All 12 could be a part of Oklahoma City’s long-term plan. Some will stay longer than others. But there are now 12 players in Presti’s pipeline. "Each time we make a selection, we want it to be consistent with the vision of the team. And we feel like we’ve been able to do that,” Presti said. "But as we add pieces to the group, our hope is that they grow together.” The Thunder is still identifying which players will fit best with Durant, Green and Westbrook, who aren’t the core but are indeed the big three. No. 3 overall pick James Harden, because of his versatility and his ability to be a facilitator, is a great complement and will be around for a while. Fellow draftee B.J. Mullens is a project but one who figures to remain in OKC long term. And you can pencil in Nenad Krstic, D.J.