It was the last question Kevin Durant was asked, and really, it was barely even snuck in at the buzzer.
What’s up with this Dwyane Wade thing?
“Dwyane Wade is a great, great player, man,” Durant said. “I’m not discrediting anything he’s done or nothing like that. I just voiced my opinion. He’s a great, great player. Finals MVP and champion. I didn’t mean to disrespect that or take that away or anything. I just voiced my opinion as of today. I love you D-Wade, man. It’s just competition.”
And that was that. Basically, Durant was channeling his inner Dude. Well, yeah, that’s just like my opinion, man.
That’s the thing about this whole silly little spat. Durant was asked, and he answered. He was asked who he thought should be in that top 10, so he said James Harden. Then he was asked who he’d take out, so he said Dwyane Wade. We love our professional athletes to be open, candid and honest. That’s all Durant did.
Outside of that, it was your pretty standard media day. The hook was Russell Westbrook’s status and when he’d be back. The answer? “Not sure.” Scott Brooks opened his comments with, “Guys, we’re excited.” I know. I can’t believe he said that either. Daniel Orton was asked what he worked on over the summer and said, “A lot of stuff on offense, and just really learning how to play defense too. I think those are the things I really worked on.” So to recap, Daniel Orton worked on basketball. That right there is media day summarized in a quote.
Other notes and quotes from the Thunder’s sixth media day:
- The first question to Durant was about his mindset going in to training camp was, and he started by saying how this was his seventh year. I didn’t hear anything he said after that. Seventh year? What?
- Thabo Sefolosha has changed his number from No. 2 to No. 25. Why? “Felt like it … It’s just a number I like. No special meaning. Just time for a change … Sorry to the 19 people that had No. 2.”
- Thabo was asked about replacing the production of Kevin Martin and he called it a “couple-guy thing,” which I thought was a really good way to put it.
- Westbrook on replacing Martin: “I don’t think we need to find someone to slip into his slot, or slip into that particular spot. I think the main problem is, since James has left, I think everybody thinks everybody needs to fill that slot. That we need a player for that slot, we need somebody for that slot. The slot doesn’t have to be filled. We have a great team and everybody does their job and does their role, we should be alright.”
- Scott Brooks did seem to have a higher-than-usual level of energy in his presser today. He was really… peppy. I’m thinking maybe he was excited.
- Brooks on if he intends to make any structural changes to the offense during this training camp: “We have a terrific offensive system. The only thing I could say we have to get better at is not turning the ball over. It’s something I’ve been talking about a lot of years. I think we’ve made a little improvement but I think the league has also made improvement so where we rank maybe is not as good. I always tell our guys if we can just cut our turnovers down by one a game, we’re in the top 10, which is a terrific number. But I like us to be aggressive. That’s our style, that’s our system … so we will continue to build on what we do.”
- Nick Collison was asked where he thought the team needed to get better. He focused on offensive execution: “We have very talented players and we can try and rely on those players to make plays all the time to win certain games, but we have to realize that in the long run we have to be able to really execute as a team down the stretch. So I think the subtle things in how we play and how we execute.”
- Collison with some advice for young players: “The biggest part for a young player in part of becoming a professional is realizing you have to do the work every day. That’s the biggest part is showing up and being able to do it every day. It’s a marathon, it’s a long season and hopefully a long career. So looking at each day as an investment in your career as opposed to in the past thinking my coach is making me do this or I really don’t want to do this but I have to, just shifting that mindset to this is an investment in hopefully a long career and what I put into it is what I’ll get out of it.”
- Thabo said he hasn’t spoken with Presti about his contract expiring next summer.
- Westbrook on Mo Cheeks leaving: “It’ll be different. Mo taught me a lot of different things as a player, and a young man in the NBA.”
- Durant was asked if this team can win a title: “We’re really confident that we can. Like I said, we’re not going to come in and say, ‘We can’t win it all, we don’t have enough.’ We’re a confident group of guys, we’re an experienced group of guys so yeah, I think so. Just like every other team. We just have to go out there and take it a day at a time.”
- Durant was asked about connecting to the community, specifically with the Moore tornado. He had a pretty profound quote: “Just changing the culture of how people think of Oklahoma City is very important to me. I think with the tornado, I wanted to do my job to help. Maybe that was giving money, or maybe that was just giving hope and I think our team does that just by stepping on the court every day and just representing. On the road we have Oklahoma City across our chests and that means a lot. Kind of like we’re the little dogs fighting against the bigger cities and I think we’re holding our own no matter who we play against. I think when you’re talking about the best organizations in sports, you have to put Oklahoma City in there.”
- Kendrick Perkins on Westbrook: “Russell gives our team swag. He gives me swag. I feed off of him. I know if I’m on the court and I have a frown on my face, I know one other person for sure with a frown on his face and that’s Russell. And in the playoffs, I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t find. You can’t take people for granted.”
- Serge Ibaka said he’s been focusing on creating his own shot and scoring in the post. He said he’s been working on putting the ball on the floor with his back to the basket and a few post moves.
- Reggie Jackson said he hasn’t talked to the coaching staff about his role yet and if he was the sixth man, that “would be news to [him].”
- Jackson said he focused on coming back a better shooter, specifically from midrange.
- Perk on what he worked on this summer: KG told me that there’s nobody in the NBA, or the world, that doesn’t have flaws. So every offseason you try and clean up your flaws. I definitely went in to the gym trying to work on getting my shot up quicker. Worked on my touch around the basket. I spent a lot of time in the weight room strengthening my legs. And just all around work. I didn’t take any shortcuts on anything. I just addressed every situation. The first step is you just got to be honest with yourself and look yourself in the mirror and just work on what you need to work on.”
- Brooks on Jeremy Lamb: “We’re excited about Jeremy and what he brings to our team. He’s a terrific scorer. He can make shots. My job is to find areas on the floor he can continue to feel comfortable. This is only his second year. He’s only 20 years old. He has a lot of areas he’s going to improve the next six or seven years. We’re excited about having him. But my job is also to find who is best for us on the floor and the good thing about all our players is that they understand it’s earned minutes.”
- Durant said Lamb is one of the players that impressed him this summer: “Jeremy Lamb has been looking great. You can really tell he’s been working.”
- Lamb: “I’m going to try and fill the role of whatever coach wants me to be. Not necessarily I’m going to try and be this guy, or be that guy. I’m just going to try and help the team win … I’m not really thinking about gotta be like him, or gotta be like that. I’m just working hard and everything will work out.”
- Reggie Jackson: “When the season’s over I go back and work out as hard as possible and try and come back not just the best player I can be, but the best player in the league. That’s how I approach it.”
- Steven Adams really didn’t say anything of interest. He hasn’t heard of what his possible role might be, if he should plan to spend a lot of time in Tulsa, or what his expectations should be.
- Orton on if he feels like he just needs an opportunity: “I feel opportunity is the main thing in my career. It’s the main thing so far, not having the opportunity, not having the chance. So many instances in my life I’ve been given chances. Like in high school and college, just been given that chance and I feel like I haven’t been given that chance in the pros. I’ve just got to wait for my moment. But I’m working hard at it every day. It’s something obviously the coaches haven’t seen what they want to see. And that’s something I talked to Stan Van Gundy about after he got fired. I said, ‘Why didn’t you play me?’ and he said, ‘I thought Earl Clark was better’ and I couldn’t argue with that. So I needed to get better in certain areas.”
- Perk on Orton: “I always said this since the first time I met Daniel, that he has unbelievable talent. He’s a very talented guy. I think he definitely deserves a shot.”