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Sounds of Thunder: Oklahoma City Thunder 10th Training Camp to begin September 26th

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Thunder set to begin season with new faces, a few injury issues, and a new focus on “the bedrock of stuff”.

It is difficult to imagine that the Thunder are on the cusp of kicking off their 10th season in Oklahoma City. Time passes quickly when you enjoy something and the Thunder have brought more than their share of joy in this past decade. But ten years? Already?

It's official, the Thunder’s 10th training camp opens Tuesday, September 26th!!

Ten is a special number. There are ten commandments. Ten plagues to free Israel from Egypt. At some point after a child turns ten they realize when someone asks their age it takes all their fingers to respond non-verbally. Nadia Comaneci thrilled an entire planet at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics when she became the first gymnast to record a ten at the tender age of 14. Bo Derek was a ten in the movie “Ten”.

Ten is a number that represents perfection and completion, but in his press conference today, Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti looks at the Thunder’s tenth season as a new beginning:

The new faces Presti brought in during the off-season and new Nike uniforms they will be wearing are appropriate for new beginnings, but the new shortened training camp with 3 rotation players on the mend raises some concerns. Especially when one of the walking wounded is the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook.

Presti reported that Westbrook received a PRP injection in his right knee. PRP, or Platelet rich plasma, is a concentrated blood sample that has high levels of platelets, a critical component to the wound healing process, but according to Presti, the procedure was purely precautionary.

Sorry to doubt you Sam, but like the adage goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So what is broke?

Presti said Westbrook would miss only a few days of training camp to allow time for the treatment to settle in, but when you're looking at a short 8 day camp before the first pre-season game against the Houston Rockets on October 4th, a few days is somewhat significant.

From healthline.com:

What is the recovery time for PRP injections?

When PRP is injected following injury, your doctor may recommend that you rest the affected area. However, these recommendations are more related to the injury and less to the PRP injections. Most people can continue their daily activities following PRP injections.

Needless to say, as hard as Westbrook plays and as important a part he plays in this team's possible success, this is a situation worth keeping a close eye on.

As it turned out, Alex Abrines’ mystery injury sustained during FIBA Eurobasket while playing for his native Spain was a slightly hyper-extended right knee. Although Abrines did not take part in any more games at the Thunder’s request, he told reporters at a Thunder Cares event at the Oklahoma City Zoo that the pain lasted less than a day. However, the MRI revealed a bone bruise that has kept the young Spaniard off the court while it heals.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Bone bruise recovery time is tricky to predict. It varies from a few weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the bruise and an individual's natural healing ability. After finishing his rookie season on a strong note, Abrines should fill a valuable rotation spot on a team that finished last in 3-point % a year ago, and again, with so many new faces, a shortened training camp, and fewer pre-season games, any time lost is costly.

One of those new faces, Patrick Patterson, is yet another key player coming into the 2017/18 season with a hitch in his get-a-long. On August 10th, Patterson had his left knee scoped. The knee hampered Patterson last season and when off-season rest alone failed to correct the issue, Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed arthroscopic surgery as a proactive way to put any future problems behind the Thunder's projected PF starter once and for all.

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Presti said he expected Patterson to play some pre-season games but did not cover when or if 2Pat might take part in any of the practices preceding them.

Fortunately, the Thunder are the beneficiaries of a schedule that, on paper, appears to start soft then gets tougher as the season progresses. An upgrade in talent should carry the team early, but the short training camp coupled with the injuries will delay the team finding their stride.

If there is a silver lining here, it's this; A much maligned bench from a year ago combined with their new floor General, Raymond Felton, should get some extra reps and after last season, Thunder Nation knows that bench needs all the extra reps they can get.

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Presti spent almost a third of his opening statement discussing the importance of solid fundamentals:

I’ve said this before, but I think more games in the league are lost than won and most of the time that just comes down to fundamentals.

A Thunder bench that squandered multiple double-digit leads, sometimes in a single game, last season will benefit a great deal focusing on the basics and hopefully, adding a PG with Felton’s experience will accelerate taking those things developed on the practice floor and translating them into game day success.

Presti, known for his ambiguity in past press conferences was surprisingly direct when he talked about the specific areas he expects to see improvement this season and stressed it didn’t matter whether you were discussing a high school team or a NBA team:

It’s hard to be a really good team if you’re turning the ball over a lot. It’s hard to be a really good team if you’re putting the other team on the free throw line a lot. It’s hard to be a consistent team if you’re giving up a lot of uncontested lay-ups in the half court or transition, and if the ball’s not moving before you attack the defense.

Obviously, Presti is excited about the addition of Paul George, Patrick Patterson, and Raymond Felton to this season’s roster.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers - Game Four Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Together, he said they, along with Dakari Johnson, Terrance Ferguson, and Daniel Hamilton, help form a team that combines “dynamics, age, toughness, and versatility” into an “interesting group”, however, he made it very clear that developing solid fundamentals were necessary to “amplifying” those traits.

That’s what holds you together over 82 games when you go through the peaks and valleys and when you get to the post-season, that’s when the bedrock of stuff really shines through.

The bedrock of stuff?

It’s a safe bet that when an articulate person such as Sam Presti reverts to his basic New England roots and calls the solid rock underlying unconsolidated surface materials the “bedrock of stuff”, he is serious. He wants his message heard and he wants it understood.

By covering everything from turnovers to uncontested lay-ups, Presti put everyone, from the coaches, to the MVP, all the way down to the new rookies, on notice that he expects results and he wants them to start from the “bedrock of stuff” up.

Polls:

Poll

Do you like the shorter training camp and reduction in pre-season games?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Yes, it reduces risk of injury and reduces long term fatigue.
    (31 votes)
  • 40%
    NO! Team’s need time after a long off-season to prepare properly for the season.
    (21 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Did you feel Presti’s comments were...

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    surprisingly short and direct.
    (17 votes)
  • 33%
    clear as mud like always.
    (12 votes)
  • 19%
    or just media speak.
    (7 votes)
36 votes total Vote Now

Join the discussion below and give us your thoughts on Presti’s comments and the upcoming Thunder training camp.

BREAKING NEWS!!!

It appears that Thunder GM Sam Presti has done it again!! Just days before the beginning of training camp, league sources are telling ESPN that the Thunder have traded Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 Draft pick (via the Bulls) for New York Knick All-Star, Carmelo Anthony.

According to the source, Anthony waived his $8.1 M trade kicker in order to accommodate the deal!

Stay with WTLC as more details come out!