Back in January, a flurry of trades made it possible this year's NBA trade deadline would be a bit of a dud. Boy, was that not the case.
A flurry of trades came down in the final 30 minutes before Thursday's 2 p.m. CT deadline, among those, a three-way trade for Oklahoma City that turned Kendrick Perkins and Reggie Jackson into Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler. Here are some thoughts about a wild day for the Thunder.
1. Sam Presti is a ninja and proved he's still one of the best general managers in the NBA
All we heard all day was Lopez to OKC. Even as late as 1:45 p.m. there were still reports that the trade was going to happen. Then a minute later, the actual trade came down, something basically no one saw coming. What a stealthy move by Presti. And not only was it stealthy, but it was a sensational trade for OKC. It added three role players, two of those dead-eye shooters, and an offensive-minded center. Here's a quick look at the four players and their stats
Enes Kanter- 2014-15 (49 games, 27.1 mpg): 13.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 49 percent shooting
Career stats (fourth season): 9.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 50 percent shooting
Steve Novak- 2014-15 (22 games, 5 mpg): 2.2 ppg, 48.5 percent 3-point shooting
Career stats (ninth season): 4.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 43.4 percent 3-point shooting
D.J. Augustin- 2014-15 (54 games, 23.8 mpg): 10. 6 ppg, 4.9 apg, 33 percent 3-point shooting
Career stats (seventh season): 10.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 37.3 3-point shooting
Kyle Singler- 2014-15 (54 gmes, 23.8 mpg): 7.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 40.6 percent 3-point shooting
Career stats (third season): 8.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 38 percent 3-point shooting
2. The Thunder and their fans will miss Kendrick Perkins
This is not to say OKC is going to suffer on and off the court for getting rid of the big fella. Oklahoma City will do just fine without him. But his presence in the locker room will be missed for sure. When he came to OKC, he was basically the lone veteran with any semblance of experiencing success in the NBA. His leadership in the locker room was very important to the development of the franchise. On the court, he is still one of the best post defenders in the league, but he's one of a dying breed, as there are so few big men with great post games in the league. The team will miss him, but the fans are going to find themselves missing him as well, maybe even reminiscing about all his flaws with a smile on their faces.
3. OKC has the potential to have a fearsome frontcourt rotation
With the addition of Kanter, Oklahoma City's rotation of big men just received an upgrade in potential and athleticism. The Thunder now has a rotation of Steven Adams, Kanter, Serge Ibaka, and Mitch McGary, with Nick Collison providing depth and leadership. That's a really impressive foursome. Kanter will be a restricted free agent this summer, but OKC is confident it can get a deal done and maybe wouldn't have made the trade if there wasn't some assurance from Kanter a deal would get done. All have a ton of room to grow as players and the competition among them should be fun to watch going forward.
4. Stop with the worrying about defense
Plenty of people have expressed concerns with Kanter's lack of a defensive pedigree and that's true. Kanter isn't known as a defender. The loss of Perkins also hurts the Thunder defensively, but here's why worrying about that is silly. Defensive ability in the NBA is an individual mindset. You don't get to the NBA—and stay there—without being able to play defense. Scott Brooks may not be a great X's and O's coach, but he takes pride in his team's ability to play defense and if you're not pulling your weight there, you're not going to play a lot (see: Lamb, Jeremy). Plus, with these additions, OKC may not have to worry about playing as much defense with the offensive potential now on the roster. Lastly, Singler is an underrated defender and should provide a boost to the second unit in that regard.
5. Watch out for the Thunder
There will be a bit of an adjustment period for all these new pieces and for the players already on the roster, but when things come together, this is once again one of the best teams in the NBA. With Phoenix making some moves that didn't help them get better, OKC is in prime position to make the playoffs. There is still plenty of basketball to be played, but the Thunder look ready to make a run.