And the 2010-2011 Thunder Season has finally kicked off. No, the home opener wasn't last night, but there was the Thunder Media Day. For those who are uneducated on what Media Day is, let me tell you. It's basically when the new team assembles under the public eye for the first time, and it's also when the teams have a chance to start up their propaganda machine for the new season.
For the Thunder, the theme this year was brotherhood, and emphasizing the fact that they are a team. Unfortunately, nobody from Welcome to Loud City exactly had press access to the event. So most of what I'm getting is from the videos provided on the Thunder website.
I think Sam Presti said two key words in his press conference today. Sustained Success. That's what he's trying to move the team toward. It might not be what you want to hear as a fan, as fans are mostly concerned with what's right in front of their noses, and they want championships. But, you've got to spend a lot of time climbing that ladder if you're not in a big market, and Sam Presti understands that. That's why he used the free money over the summer to get young players and potential role players rather than going for a big name Free Agent like Chris Bosh or trying to pull off a big deal. Regardless, the rest of the press conference was the typical fare of being a defensive team that likes each other and giving back to the community.
Below: Brooks, The Team, New Uniforms?
Scott Brooks Press Conference:
He almost looked like a deer in the headlights here. I've seen him look confident in interviews before, but I guess the bright, shiny light and mountain of microphones got to him. Nevertheless, he did do a great job of identifying what the team did wrong and conveying his coaching philosophy. He said that the Thunder are a defense first team, which leads me to believe that Thabo might be spending more time starting at Shooting Guard. He also said that the team would need to cut down on turnovers, which I would probably agree as the Thunder's main weakness. The rest of it was mostly talking about things like challenging the team every day to get better.
Serge Ibaka is going to wear a headband this year! And, as you could probably judge from the picture on my profile, this gets a huge thumbs up from me. He also doesn't seem to have any beef with not starting, which is always good to see from somebody who could easily try to jump ship or gun for a better salary, given his talent.
The beard has gotten more beastly. Again, this gets the stamp of approval from me. He also said he worked mostly on his ballhandling over the off-season, which will be a huge help if he has to step in and play point guard in a pinch, or if he decides to take more drives to the hoop.
As described in Q McCall's fanshot below, most of his press conference was spent apologizing for the infamous chair incident when his team played Greece in a friendly before the FIBA World Championships. But, more importantly, he said that when playing for Serbia, he's the oldest player and the team leader, so he has to be relied upon to make plays. But here, he has to focus on just helping the team, due to the availability of talent. Which involves mostly picking and popping.
He's working on the corner threes! More great news, as hopefully we won't have to deal with teams ignoring Sefolosha on offense when he stands there this season.
He had a lot of fun playing in the Summer, and he doesn't anticipate becoming an All-Star. I think that's about all you can ask from this press conference.
He's trying to become more assertive, consistent, and able to play under pressure. And he assures us that he also worked hard over the off-season. According to NewsOK, he also won't let his contract talks distract from what's happening on the court, which is good to hear. But I'll have to see it before I believe it.
The most surprising thing coming out of this interview was that he was shocked at the role he had playing for Team USA. Which is understandable, given his humbleness. It will be interesting to see what kind of role he has with that team in 2012 though. Other than that, he's spent a lot of time working getting better every day, and more specifically working on his ballhandling. Coming from the mouth of a superstar, it's exactly what you want to hear.
The entire NBA has new uniforms this season. Well, not necessarily new designs, but a new material for the uniforms. Because of this, the top of the Thunder's uniforms looks really.....well, dotty. And then below the weird dotty neckline, the uniform looks normal. I don't really know how or why this improves the uniforms, nor do I much care. It does make things but a bit more odd, though.
And, that's about all I have. QMcCall, who was actually at the Thunder Press Conference, may or may not have a post coming up covering all of the holes I didn't fill. Regardless, stay tuned for Training Camp and Pre-Season coverage in the coming days!