OKC Thunder: Nick Collison’s absence means OKC needs a leader

Nick Collison, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nick Collison, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Sam Presti spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of Monday’s media day extravaganza and spoke highly of now retired big man Nick Collison.

Sam Presti had a very informative and interesting media session on Thursday, and one thing that went under the radar was what he said about fan favorite Nick Collison.

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The first place to start, is the easiest. OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti confirmed to the media that Nick Collison will be honored by the organization eventually. That is no shock, as many believe he will have his jersey retired. I am in that corner as well, Nick Collison absolutely deserves to have his number retired.

Sam Presti also confirmed another topic of discussion amongst die hard Thunder fans: Nick Collison will be around the team and organization in some capacity. While Collison still wants to spend time with his family, he of course is always welcomed with open arms around the Thunder facilities.

The biggest news to come from this is a challenge to two OKC Thunder super stars. It is no secret to anyone who has followed this OKC team closely, that Nick Collison is a huge part of this team. Even over the last two-three years when his on the court play dragged, or was non existent, his presence off the court was huge. Nick Collison was truly the glue guy for this team. If you ever notice while attending games, Nick Collison was always the one giving speeches in the tunnel before the team runs out to the warm embrace of their fans. He also kept guys engaged and poised on the bench.

That is a big hole to fill, and Thursday afternoon Sam Presti challenged Russell Westbrook and Paul George to step up and fill that void left behind by the crafty veteran.

It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Russell Westbrooks attitude changes or maybe his role within the team changes. Westbrook might step up and be more vocal now without Collison, before the game or during timeouts or on the bench. That is just something very small to look for during the course of this season.