If the Thunder takes the draft-and-stash route in next week's NBA Draft, this year's 24th overall selection likely will join another prospect on the Euro circuit whose draft rights are owned by Oklahoma City.
Tibor Pleiss is a name that's familiar to some and still perhaps foreign to most. But he's a potential key piece in the Thunder's future.
For those who aren't familiar, the Thunder acquired Pleiss, the 31st overall selection in the 2010 draft, following a series of draft-night trades. But rather than bring Pleiss over immediately, the organization allowed the 7-foot-1 German center to continue developing in his native country.
For those who already know about Pleiss, may we suggest to you to remain patient. Don't expect to see him in a Thunder uniform anytime soon. Whenever the curtain is lifted on the 2011-12 NBA season, Pleiss doesn't figure to be a part of it. It appears the big man who the Thunder thinks has big potential will stay overseas for additional seasoning.
When asked about the plan for Pleiss, Thunder general manager Sam Presti did not provide exact details of the team's intentions. But listen to the GM discuss Pleiss' future and it sounds pretty clear that neither side is ready for him to make the jump.
“Tibor, we like,” Presti said. “We're in constant communication with him and following him. He's progressing well. We cannot speed up his development. We're excited for where he is. But we've got to let him be him. We'll continue to watch him this summer.”
Pleiss, who's played professionally overseas since he was 17 and will turn just 22 on Nov. 2, still has one more year on his contract with his overseas club, Brose Baskets. That gives the Thunder one more reason to leave Pleiss in Germany.
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