So I know the offseason has ground to a halt and Thunder news has even more than with most teams, but with seven weeks left until the season starts there is a little news out there for us. Both Thabo and Nenad are preparing for international play with their respective countries as they will compete in the European Championships in a couple of weeks. In the tune up Nenad who will be playing for Serbia scored 24 in the pre-tournament game vs the Russians in Greece. Thabo who is going to play for the Swiss scored 16 in their exhibition game. There are some good quotes from the players and Presti after the jump.
"It’s really big in our country," Krstic said. "You get better by playing in big games. It ends the day before I fly to Oklahoma City (for training camp), but physically I’ll be ready."
"It helped me to get back healthy again," Krstic said. "It’s tough to work on your (individual) game because we don’t have a practice facility all day like we do here. We play a lot of games, but it’s good preparation for the (NBA) season."
I think both of these quotes from Kristic are very encouraging as to the fact that these games for him will help to prepare him physically for the nba season and not have the lull in conditioning that he had first coming over last season. It also goes against the grain of fear of injuries that most people have when they think about international competition on the negative side only and not the positives it can produce in a players fitness and their game, especially confidence wise if they are successful.
Speaking to that point is Presti himself:
"Anytime you’re in a competitive situation, playing the game at a high level, there is no downside," said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. "Both of those guys carry significant roles for their teams."
Maybe the consensus here is that because they have smaller roles on this team than KD does that them playing internationally is different because the opportunity for improvement vs the risk of injury is greater than it is with KD where what is seen is just the injury risk. I happen to agree with Presti on this in that if you look at the improvements that were made by all the top players on the US team last year in their all around games after competing against one another on a day in day out basis in practice it is scary what that can do for KD. This line of thinking might change for me where Kevin is concerned down the road when he starts to get older or the Thunder are more consistently playing later games in the season and the rest and recooperation might be just as valuable to him, but I also think it is foolish to think that if they arent playing USA basketball that they are not playing ball and risking injury in things like pickup games.
Other good news was that Presti said both Thabo and Nenad were looking good and prepared to contribute to this team for the upcoming season and that is important because both will be key role players for us this season.
Last bit of news is not international related but a move I have talked about before in that hoopworld is discussing the idea of the Hornets looking to move out Antonio Daniels deal to get out from under the luxury tax and if they are willing to give up a number 1 to get us to take him i would do it because he can provide versatility and veteran leadership to a young team even more so than Kevin Ollie and since Daniels has only 1 year on his deal it is no long term cost to the team.