The first couple of questions asked weren’t the ones everyone’s been wanting to ask. But today during the welcoming news conference for Thunder 2012 draft pick Perry Jones III when they were asked the answers were what most fans probably wanted to hear.
First to the Brooks question, late reports nationally have indicated the Thunder and Scott Brooks are closing in on a new deal. Presti certainly didn’t throw cold water on any of that speculation.
“We’ve talked quite a bit about how important Scott is,” Presti told a crowd of reporters and basketball campers, “we wouldn’t be in this position (coming off a trip to The Finals) without his contributions. I can tell you we feel like things are progressing, our feelings remain consistent and Scott has made it clear that this is an organization that he wants to be a part of.”
Brooks current deal runs out at midnight. If he becomes a free agent both Orlando and Portland would have him at the top of their list to come in and lead their teams.
The Magic’s new GM is Rob Hennigan, who worked with Brooks in Oklahoma City and the new GM in Portland is Neal Olshey an old friend. In fact Olshey, Brooks and current Blazers interim head coach Caleb Kanales all have the same agent, Warren LeGarie.
As far as PJ3 he said all the right things during his introductory news conference including this when I asked him how is knee is now and if it affected his season at all at Baylor.
“My knee’s fine, it didn’t affect me at Baylor,” he said simply. Presti then amplified that point saying the injury didn’t even happen while Jones was with the Bears and is neither new nor particularly concerning.
“It’s a previous injury he had prior to coming to Baylor he’s played two years (since) and has been incredibly consistent with it and it’s just something we have to watch as we go forward. If there’s anything that comes up from it we’ll be proactive but going into the situation we’re thrilled and we’re looking forward to having him compete this summer.”
Jones III will be on OKC’s team at the Orlando Summer League and he will wear number 3 with the Thunder, a nod to his name.
The new kid on the Thunder block also said he knows hard work is coming.
“The hardest part is gonna be playing to the level of intensity that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook set because they set the standard for working hard here. You gotta bring it every day so I’m gonna be in the gym a lot, a lot, to stay up to par with them.”
Like he did on draft night Presti did not seem worried about what kind of motor Jones III has or his assertiveness or intensity.
“With our team I think the fact that he is a team guy first and understands team dynamics, we consider that a huge plus. It’s one of the reasons we were so excited about having to chance to draft him.”
To his credit Jones II seems to be over any disappointment at having fallen so far down the draft pecking order.
“Everybody knows I wasn’t supposed to slide as far as I did but it turns out I’m happy I did because this is a great organization. This is a perfect spot for me and I believe everything happens for a reason and these guys treat me like family.”
And like some families do in the summer PJ3 and some of his new cousins are about to head to Disney World, or at least close. The Orlando Summer League begins a week from Monday.
You can follow Perry Jones III and the rest of the Thunder players on NBA TV which will televise all the games from Orlando.
And on a personal note I’ve jumped into the Twitterverse finally, you can follow me @Randy1340OKC.
SAM PRESTI AND PERRY JONES III