The Thunder rolls
Oklahoma’s favorite NBA team “Thundered Up” at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 at the Thunder Event Center to talk about the upcoming season. Coach Scott Brooks and the players discussed everything from training camp and possible strategies to injuries and attitudes.
“This is a coach’s dream time of the year: training camp,” Brooks said.
Brooks, who has been in town with a few of the players for three or four weeks, emphasized the team’s excitement about getting ready for the upcoming season.
“We are excited about what we have. We are excited about the players who are coming back. We had a great summer,” Brooks said.
“Everybody came back looking forward to competing and playing for each other.”
Veterans like Kevin Durant, who is starting his sixth year with the team at age 25, are ready to get the team together and start working. Durant described himself as “just more seasoned.”
“Just yesterday, it seemed like I was in high school and I am just about to do my seventh year in the best league in the world,” Durant said.
“Rodney McGruder is looking really good for us. We have him on the training camp roster. Diante Garrett has been playing well in pickups. These guys that I came in not knowing much about really surprised me.”
McGruder, who is 6’4” and weighs in at 205 lbs., recently concluded his four year college career at Kansas State where he became one of two players in school history to rank among the top 10 in both career scoring and rebounding.
Garrett, who is 6’4” and weighs in at 190 lbs., appeared in 19 games last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns where he averaged 2.1 points and 1.6 assists in 7.9 minutes per game. Additionally, Garrett played eight games last season for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League where he posted averages of 17.3 points, 7.3 assists and 1.63 steals.
Along with these new recruits, announced on Friday, the Thunder picked up a few more players over the summer. The Thunder selected Steven Adams with the 12th overall pick, acquired the draft rights to Andre Roberson (originally selected 26th overall by Minnesota).
They selected Alex Abrines with the 32nd overall pick and acquired the draft rights to Grant Jerrett (originally selected 40th overall by Portland) in the 2013 NBA Draft held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/76272376[/vimeo]
The Thunder also signed Derek Fisher, who has appeared in 44 regular season games with Oklahoma City during the past two seasons, averaging 4.5 points, 1.0 assist and 1.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. In 31 playoff games with the Thunder, he averaged 7.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 22.8 minutes per game.
Westbrook, who is out for a knee injury he incurred last season, said that he is keeping a positive attitude and backing his team in any way possible.
“I think in the process of rehab, it is important to remain confident that everything is healing like it is supposed to,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook suffered the injury in the second quarter of Game 2 of the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points (6th in NBA), 7.4 assists (7th), a career-high 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals (9th) in 82 games this past season.
Brooks attested to Westbrook’s work ethic and said that he has had a great summer of rehab. He also discussed strategies for the team to work well together.
“We are like the other 29 teams in this league,” Brooks said. “We want to win the championship.”
Thunder prepares to do just that as the team goes to camp where players will go through drills and team building exercises to prepare for their first game.
As previously announced, the Thunder will take part in the NBA’s Global Games slate of contests beginning with an Oct. 5 matchup in Istanbul, Turkey, against five-time Turkish champion Fenerbahce Ulker and then followed by an Oct. 8 meeting versus the Philadelphia 76ers in Manchester, England.
The Thunder will play their first home game against Denver on Oct. 15 in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder will host its second and final preseason contest at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Oct. 20 when the Utah Jazz make the trip to Oklahoma City.
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