Gabriel Deck, Real Madrid figure, who made the great leap to the NBA to play in Oklahoma City Thunder
He never dreamed of it. Not when he played on the dirt floor in the courtyard of his house in Colonia Dora or when he played at the Miter club. Neither when he arrived in Quimsa, a powerful institution in the capital of Santiago, nor when he successfully debuted in the formative teams – he was even a U17 World Cup scorer. Nor when he started training with the Fusion team that was in the League or when he played his first game in the League, in 2010. Not even when he was crowned league champion with Quimsa or was elected the Player of the Most Progress, in 2015.
Perhaps you began to think that some time when disembarked in San Lorenzo and began to dominate the League, with three MVP awards and four titles – one international – with Cuervo de Boedo, all in just two seasons. Pero Gabriel Deck, beyond your level, it was never so ambitious in his thoughts as if to dream of the NBA. He preferred, due to his essence, to go step by step, enjoying what was his own, being in new places -Santiago capital, Buenos Aires or Madrid- but always with part of his head and, above all, his heart in his beloved land located 175 kilometers away. from Santiago.
Deck embraced basketball out of passion but also to get out of a difficult childhood in a house where nothing was left over
Deck embraced basketball out of passion but also to get out of a difficult childhood in a house where nothing was left over. Unlike. And it was his lifeline. This is how he surfed life, loving what he does, but also knowing that it was his profession and that life went beyond that … Therefore, attached to his people and their customs (go fishing, listen to music from his land, eat stews with friends, among others), he adapted to Buenos Aires, San Lorenzo and then Madrid and Real. Nothing less. And in all of them he was a worker. But not just any worker. A luxury worker. A star worker, rather. Because that’s how Deck can be defined. A star who plays a worker. One of the hardest things in sport. Feeling like a worker, showing yourself like this, but let your game speak like a figure. Tortu does not need shots, nor many minutes, nor that the technician marks many plays for him or that they give him so much the ball. He gets by with what the game gives him. That’s how it was in Quimsa, even in San Lorenzo being MVP and even at Real, where he was always surrounded by stars.
But of course, without guys like Deck, there are no great conquests. And that is why it is no coincidence that Quimsa, San Lorenzo and Real have won everything with him. Deck is a winner, without feeling like a winner. Without needing the flashes, the contracts or the numbers of the superfigures. This is how he left his mark in each place and that he will seek to do in Oklahoma. Without fanfare, although today – and tomorrow – they need it like water. The most important thing for Tortu is that comes to a team with much more future than present. Today, without adaptation and with the tournament started, the santiagueño can aspire to minutes, perhaps more than many believe. But not to triumphs. The team is 13th out of 15 Western conference teams with a 20-31 record. His moment is the worst: he lost seven of the last eight, already without his star, the Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 22-year-old point guard who was breaking it (23.7 points, 6 assists and 4.7 rebounds) until he suffered plantar fasciitis. . In addition, the franchise announced that it will no longer take into account the Dominican Al Horford, an experienced power forward who was his complement (14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds), but that at 34 he has two years of a bulky contract (53 million) and the Thunder remain. wants to change to free up money on the salary cap.
Gabriel Deck’s celebration with the Argentine basketball team
Precisely, freeing money for the future is the only thing that interests this great manager, Sam Presti, a general manager who was trained in the Spurs family and is a great recruiter but also a skilled engineer in team building. In addition to being able to free up money (OKC is the team with the least money committed for next season: 50m), something key in the NBA, he achieved an unprecedented fact: collect 34 draft elections for the next seven years, from 2021 to 2027. The picks are used to select university or foreign players through the election that is made once a year, generally in July. Between 2021 and 2027, OKC will have 17 first round and 17 second round. Crazy. Today he has more picks than players. The future belongs to OKC. Because, in addition to those picks, he has 13 of his 18 players with 23 years or less, spending 91 million this season and managing to drastically lower the payroll for the next one. Everything to seduce big names in the coming market. And on the other … Presti is also a lover of international talent. Not only did he stay with the Canadian point guard (SGA), who is on his way to being an All Star, he chose French point guard Theo Maledon in the last draft and made room for two more Europeans, the Ukrainian guard Svi Mykhailiuk (pick 47 of 2018 , without a contract for 21/22) and, especially, the Serbian Aleksej Pokusevski, a 2m13 and 19-year-old power forward who averages 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 24 minutes during this regular phase. He also has another young man who shines, especially in defense: Luguentz Dort, a 21-year-old forward. And a 20-year-old power forward, Darius Bazley, who moves well near the rim.
Gabriel Deck arrives at this context – and it fits very well. Many chances to play, to show himself, although always being him. A worker who, little by little, will gain the trust of all. He will have to get used to losing more than winning, but as he is, there is no problem. He is prepared, mature, without haste. “This is basketball, Chango”, is his headline phrase, the one that applies when things go well or badly. When the pressure increases or when the context does not help. Whether you are in Colonia Dora, Santiago, Buenos Aires or Madrid. Now you will hear it in Oklahoma City.
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