Alright, Oklahoma GM Sam Presti (above, background) hasn’t been inducted into Springfield, MA’s 2nd most historic spot (the first, of course, being the laboratory where Friendly’s invented The Fribble) but observing the rapid emergence of the Thunder (“their two best players are both 22 years old, and their likely next-best two players, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are both 21…this isn’t supposed to be happening” has The Painted Area’s M. Haub suggests in all seriousness that Presti’s handiwork qualifies as “the best team-building job ever done by a General Manager.”
Yes, Presti was fortunate to land Kevin Durant in the lottery, but beyond that, it’s been a series of impeccable, brilliant decisions and moves which has rebuilt and positioned his franchise for championship contention far, far faster than expected. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Red Auerbach’s work in acquiring both Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn way back in 1956 to jump-start the Celtics dynasty, and also how he managed to put/steal together the Big 3 in 1980.
It leads to this question I’ve been pondering: if you were starting a franchise, and you could have either any one player in the league, or Sam Presti, which would you take?
I would generally always take a player, and would probably still do so in this case, but I really have to think about it. It’s a testament to the fact that Presti is, in my opinion, easily the best general manager in the league currently, and is already getting close to establishing himself as an all-time great.