After a grueling draft day that saw names big and small traded and selected, Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti took to the podium at the Integris Thunder Development Center to speak on the newest addition to the team; Terrence Ferguson.
“With respect to Terrance,” Presti said during his opening comments. “We’re thrilled to have him, add him to the Thunder. He represents I think a few things that attract us to him.”
Ferguson hails from Tulsa, Okla. but has played professionally in Australia for the Adelaide 36ers for the last year. Presti was careful to say professional experience at a young age was advantageous.
“I wouldn’t say it is a huge difference,” Presti said. “Not everyone comes in with the same opportunity. I mean it’s very rare that a guy like (Domantas) Sabonis could find his way onto the starting lineup on a playoff team. That is a rare thing.”
Hopping from one young Thunder player to another, Presti used Alex Abrines as another example.
“Fortunately for us, we’ve had some guys over the years that have been able to get opportunities. Abrines, when he arrived here as a rookie, a lot of people saw him as a developmental player. But he had played in significantly big games in Europe, had a lot of experience and found his way to minutes over time.”
In addition to the draft selection of Ferguson, the question arose to the Thunder’s work behind the scenes. With names like Jimmy Butler being dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and other teams swapping picks, some saw Oklahoma City as a potential mover today.
“Obviously they weren’t fruitful,” Presti said with a smirk. “But we talked.”
After the press conference ended, Royce Young from ESPN tweeted the following:
OKC was very active this past week, from trying to move up, to getting involved in pursuing Porzingis and Butler. Came up empty, obviously.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) June 23, 2017
Presti was in good spirits despite missing out on a potential blockbuster addition.
“The only person who knows how close it (a deal) is, is the other person on the phone,” Presti shared. “We felt good about our work and we have no intention of becoming complacent.”
Presti kept going back to being satisfied with the end result.
“We feel good about what we were able to get done with Terrance.”
Historically, players like Ferguson have always intrigued Presti and the Thunder. At 6’7 and possessing explosive potential, the Tulsa native appears to have the tools necessary to fill a need to increase wing athleticism.
“I think guys that are 6-7″, put major heat on the defense in transition,” Presti said. “He can knock some shots down, like, that’s sort of the type of player you hope he can become. But, you know, he does a lot of things that I think are pretty useful with our team, has the athleticism to play with our team.”
Before leaving the podium at around 12:45 a.m. local time, Presti said the plan was to have Ferguson in Orlando for the annual Summer League games.
“First thing that has to happen is we have to get a physical, then as a participant in summer league, yes.”
It wasn’t the blockbuster deal many wanted, and it wasn’t the exciting draft like last season’s edition which saw Oklahoma City acquire Sabonis and Victor Oladipo during the event. In the end, the Thunder selected, in their minds, the best player available at 21.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!