Updated: May 26
The Thunder have been by far the most surprising team in the NBA. Before the season it looked like the Thunder were doomed for the Lottery. But, with a team led by Chris Paul, if the Thunder play their hand right they could be in the playoffs for a very long time.
The Thunder have one of the brightest futures of the entire league. You can trace their bright future back to the major trades they have made.
When the Rockets acquired Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul and two first round draft picks it looked like a win for the Rockets. They were getting an MVP caliber Russell Westbrook in exchange for a washed up Chris Paul.
However, when looking at this trade closer, the Thunder were preparing for their future. Chris Paul is such a good leader and floor general that it is great for him to help progress some of the younger players on the team such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (21), Terrence Ferguson (21), and Luguentz Dort (21) to quality starters in the league.
The other big trade that the Thunder made was with the Clippers.
The Clippers acquired six time All-Star Paul George and the Thunder acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danillo Gallinari, three first round picks, two first round pick via the Miami Heat, and two pick swaps.
These two trades really set up the Thunder's future. Between these two trades the Thunder acquired seven first round draft picks.
Not to mention, the biggest steal of this trade being Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
During his first year Shai put up 19.3 points per game, 3.3 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game on 47 percent shooting; very good stats for a sophomore in the NBA. In addition to his stats, Shai also put up a historic 20 point, 20 rebound, and 10 assist triple double, the youngest to ever do this. After this season it looks like Shai has the potential for being a future All-Star.
Trade rumors with Chris Paul will always be present because of his old age and massive contract of around 41 million dollars.
Nonetheless, with a team that is so young, Chris Paul can be a guide to the younger players. By the time Chris Paul leaves the Thunder, they could already have two All-Star caliber players: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Steven Adams to lead their team for the future.
Seven first round draft picks, ten players younger than 26, and the best floor general in the NBA. The Thunder may currently in the rebuilding stage, but should be able to compete with the best teams in the NBA.