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OKC without Westbrook? He wasn't coach's pick

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Posted at 2:42 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 15:45:11-04

After his second straight dominating performance in the Western Conference Finals in which he posted his first triple-double of the postseason during Game 4, can you imagine the Oklahoma City Thunder without Russell Westbrook?

Had it been up to then-head coach P.J. Carlesimo, Westbrook would have never been drafted by the Seattle Supersonics, who later became the Thunder.

THUNDER UP! More OKC news and notes

During a conversation on ESPN's Russillo & Kanell radio show Wednesday, Carlesimo discussed how there was division between he and others in the Seattle organization leading up to the 2008 NBA Draft.

Carlesimo wanted Brook Lopez while, he said, Sam Presti and others were high on Westbrook.

"We need a big in the worse way," Carlesimo said on the show as he recalled his thought process eight years ago.

He felt Lopez was a "big" that could play for the next 10 to 12 years and was someone the team could build around.

Ultimately Carlesimo was overruled, and the Supersonics selected Westbrook with the 4th overall pick. Lopez was selected by the New Jersey Nets, now Brooklyn, with the 10th pick.

Carlesimo did eventually get a "big" later in the 2008 draft - Serge Ibaka - with the 24th pick. But, he only coached Westbrook and Ibaka for 13 games. He was fired after a 1-12 start in the Thunder's inaugural 2008 season. And, Carlesimo did finally get Lopez, too. He became the Nets interim coach during the 2012/2013 season.

So there you have it. We can all thank Sam Presti for Russell Westbrook.

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