By Addam Francisco
After media day, the players look very well rested, and physically look to be in mid-season form… Without the injuries. This could easily be a year to remember, with this team having all the parts I think they need to win a championship, with the only thing still in question being the lingering defense topic. That’s just something that we are going to have to evaluate in these few preseason games.
This Monday afternoon was media day for our Thunder, and players like Mitch McGary, Steven Adams and Dion Waiters kept things pretty light-hearted, along with a blurb about getting open shots by Kyle Singler. I was most impressed by rookie point guard Cameron “Smooth” Payne (nickname given to him by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant), and fifth year center Enes Kanter. These two were very poised in front of the camera and didn't seem rattled at all. They also gave very good points on this season.
“I want to try and get better as a player and an individual. I just want to get that at home feel and take each step in my career day by day.” Said Payne. “I’m a very competitive guy, I’m going to come in and give 100 percent everyday, and do what I can do to help this team win a championship.”
Of course with Kanter, the questions went straight towards his one and seemingly only major short-coming and we all know what that is, defense. His answer was simple, but definite. “My focus was defense this off-season, along with losing weight.” He also shared with us that losing weight is exactly what he did. After his surgery this off-season, Enes claimed he weighed around 275 pounds and now he’s down to 245. I agree with him, in todays day of the finesse big-man in the NBA, you have to be quick and nimble at times down in the post, and cant be caught flatfooted or on your heels because premier players like LaMarcus Aldridge, or even Tim Duncan will take advantage of that, like we saw at times last year.
There’s an 18-man roster, which gives some extra guys a chance to earn a spot on the team, but this roster will not be the regular season roster. There will be three players cut, to lower the count to 15 players, then there will be three guys from that official roster, that wont be on the roster,(because an NBA team can only have 12 active players). With a total of six players from this 18-man roster expected to play with the Oklahoma City Blue squad.
The training camp roster is below.