I want to dissect this argument comparing OKC to the Warriors. Although this may be getting too deep for a basketball blog, I think one of the reasons that everyone is so mad at the Warriors FO and praises OKC's FO so much is that people don't like to think that we live in a universe where randomness plays a big factor in... well in everything. Of course Bill Gates is a billionaire because he is a genius and he deserves to be, and that guy out on the street is homeless because he screwed up his own life. This way of looking at things is a natural human way of looking at things, but is a gross simplification.
Ok, so this has been annoying me for a long time, and it gets brought up so often that I figured I might as well make a post about it. I've stated my opinion about this a number of times in the comments of other posts, but there has not been much debate or thought put into the subject that I have seen. Here is the statement that I see as false, or more accurately a gross simplification, "Oklahoma City has done it right. They have drafted unselfish young players with integrity and character. They put together pieces that work in genius moves by the front office."
One to basketball. So right now Durant is the leader of OKC. Without him, they would have some solid pieces but would be a mediocre team with potential instead of a very good team with potential to be great team. Now, how did OKC get Durant? Luck in the lottery in a deep draft year! Was this part of some master plan? No! Were they at the whim of Portland, who was going to leave either Durant or Oden for OKC? Yes! Would every other team have made the same pick that OKC made? Yes!!! So the main difference maker between OKC and other teams got onto their team purely by lucking out.
It is true that OKC has moved down in the draft in the past few years, so luck hasn't always been on their side. Except they still had high picks in pretty deep drafts where quality players have fallen to them. OKC gets Harden at 3 (the jury is obviously still out on him, but he looks pretty solid) and Westbrook at 4, and don't forget trading for Green at 5. In my opinion the Green trade was actually a good move by the FO that I cannot ascribe to luck. That was solid planning for the future, although Green doesn't seem to be that great of a player, he does enough things well to have some value.
Now lets look to the Warriors FO. They have done some stupid things, and some debably stupid things. Signing Maggs, Jackson's extension were two stupid things they have done. I'm not going to go into the J-Rich trade since people get so emotional and passionate about their opinions, but lets just call that a debatable move. But there have been some good moves, such as getting Harrington and Jackson in the first place, and signing B-Diddy. And there has been some unexpected moves, such as B-Diddy leaving for the Clips, which in the end may have been a good thing.
And lets look at the Dubs draft, which is where OKC has built their team. The Dubs actually made a pretty similiar trade to OKC's trade for Jeff Green in order to secure Wright. A good older player for a young big with potential. Wright ended up being injury prone, but who could have forseen that. Simply dumb luck. And there is still a chance that Wright will turn out well. I don't think anyone would argue that the one time the Warriors have got top 3 pick in the past decade (which is pretty unlucky in itself for a team that did so badly throughout the decade) got the same value that OKC has got for their top 5 picks this decade (unless you're nostalgic for funleavy foto fun). In almost every year of the draft the Dubs have moved down instead of up. So although the front office has been a mess recently and looks horrible, try to imagine what our view of our FO would be if we had lucked into a player of Durant's caliber. What if we had Curry and Durant as building blocks? Would we be looking at the FO with the same disdain that we do now?
Maybe we would still look at our FO with disdain... It does seem that they have been a below average bunch, and it does seem that OKC has had a solid FO, but appearances can be deceptive. If the Dub's FO had been in OKC while all of this draft luck was going on, would they have really done much differently? The power of the situation often overruns the power of the individual, and although the individuals in the FOs of these two organizations probably did contribute to and exacerbate the situations that their teams were in, I think that people discount the enormous amount of luck that was involved in the very different places that these franchises find themselves.