Yesterday, Thunder General Manager, Sam Presti addressed the media prior to training camp starting this weekend via Thunder.nba.com.
Presti opened up the press conference talking about how thrilled he is that this will be the 5th year the Thunder have been in Oklahoma City and discussed how far the team and community has come.
He went on to talk about this season and why he is exciting, “We’re excited about this season,” Presti said. “We’re excited about the nice mix of players with some veterans on this team that are going to help us. We are also excited about some young emerging players. Younger players that we hope will continue to grow and contribute over time, not only this season but in years to come as well.”
Presti went on to talk about what the staff and front office is looking forward to, and why this year should be good one in Oklahoma City:
“What we are looking forward to is the fact that they have been together for a while. Obviously, they’ve enjoyed a lot of high performance, a lot of winning, but they’ve always gone through some valleys as well and had to deal with some adversities together and we really value the fact that a lot of these guys share the same scars. So continuity, experience, and the fact that these guys have been together for a while are all things that have us excited for the year.”
And the question all Thunder fans have been pondering; when will Russell return?
“Obviously Russell is an important part to that mix as well.” Presti continued to say, “He’s on pace, to this point, in the recovery process, but we’re not going to put a specific timetable on his return, simply because it’s just too big of a decision. His health is most important, not just for this season, but for many years to come. He’s done an excellent job in showing unbelievable discipline and rigor through the process. We expect him to come back at full strength, but he’s got to finish the rest of the benchmarks.”
He continued to say, “Once he gets back on the court, I think it is important to note, that there is going to be a period of adjustment. Any time someone goes through a rehabilitation process, it’s not just a physically thing but also a skill thing. So, there will be time for him to adjust.”
“One of the things we have done well is adjust and adapt through an 82-game season. We are going to be constantly looking to do that.”
Some may think that Presti is saying that Westbrook may not start as soon as he is healthy. However, Presti is just saying that it will just take time to get back to his normal self on the court. Presti closed the press conference with this statement:
“We have a lot of confidence in this group. We have an incredible amount of confidence in our players, our people, our processes, and also the mentality that has been in place here for five years.”