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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Josh Giddey Breakout Continues in OKC Thunder’s ‘Process’

  • Thunder GM Sam Presti has 38 draft picks over the next six years.
  • His 2021 lottery pick, Josh Giddey, just became the second rookie to ever record three consecutive triple-doubles.
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti went full rebuild after a 2020 first-round playoff exit, trading superstars for promising young talent and a stockpile of draft picks.

The Thunder (18-40) continue to lose, but it’s part of their version of a “Process” led by cornerstones Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22.7 PPG) and breakout rookie Josh Giddey (No. 6 overall).

On Wednesday night, the 19-year-old Giddey joined Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history to record three straight triple-doubles — and tied Luka Doncic for most triple-doubles by a teenager.

OKC has 38 draft picks over the next six years — and plenty of cap space to build for the future.

  • OKC’s $80.2 million payroll is by far the lowest in the NBA — $36.1 million below the Grizzlies.
  • Kemba Walker ($26.2M) is the team’s highest-paid player — and isn’t even on the team.
  • Giddey (four years, $27.2M) is eligible for a rookie extension in 2025.
  • As the other young star, Gilgeous-Alexander’s $5.5 million salary turns into $29.8 million next season to start his five-year, $172 million contract.

It all started in Nov. 2020: OKC traded Chris Paul to the Suns for four role players and a 2022 first-round pick. Presti flipped three players for eight picks. One month later, he unloaded Paul George for Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and five first-rounders.

OKC is in good hands — Giddey now has the fourth-best odds to win Rookie of the Year (+1100*) — but it could take a while before they’re a postseason threat.

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