Fast Break Points- May 10 Notebook
Hey Thunder fans! You all are known for being some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated fans in the NBA, so it's no surprise that you are interested in receiving as much information and insight about the team as possible. With the flurry of activity surrounding the Thunder throughout the NBA Playoffs, thunder.nba.com will be hitting you with some unique and interesting sights and sounds from practice, shoot-arounds and media sessions.
Below are the Fast Break Points from Thursday's media session at James Harden's Kia NBA Sixth Man Award announcement.
- General Manager Sam Presti talked about the first time he met James Harden, which was after a workout at the pre-draft combine. They had a dinner scheduled for 7 pm, but Harden stayed in the gym shooting until 8 pm. Presti said it was an indication of him wanting to improve and be a part of what they were doing.
- Head Coach Scott Brooks recognized the number of players and coaches in attendance for Harden’s award celebration. “He’s well-liked, you can tell by the guys (being here),” Brooks said. “One of the things, I keep saying this, it’s so true with Sam, he drafts guys and brings guys through trades and free agency that are going to fit in with the team concept… Guys love James, you can just tell and it’s great to watch it when he comes into the game, the crowd loves James Harden. They love what he’s about.”
- At the press conference, Harden said that in his rookie year he didn’t quite understand his role and “get it”. Coach Brooks said he thought Harden was being a little hard on himself and that he did get it as a rookie. Brooks noted that the Thunder won 23 games the year before Harden was drafted, and the year after the team won 50 games and he played and he played big minutes and big fourth quarter minutes, while averaging 10 points per game.
- Brooks and Harden had a conversation about a month after last season ended. They sat down for lunch because Brooks wanted to get Harden’s thoughts going into the summer because it was going to be an important summer. Brooks asked Harden his goals, and all he said was that he wanted to do whatever it takes for the team to get better. Right then and there, Brooks knew that Harden had bought into the job that the team needed him to do.
- Brooks went on to praise Harden’s maturity and impact on the team, saying, “We look at him as our sixth starter. He has the ability to impact the game in many different ways. It’s not common to accept the role of sacrifice at such a young age. Having James on our team has been an incredible asset that he is thankful he gets to coach every day.”
- Harden received a Kia Sorento CUV as an added bonus to the award, but decided to donate it to the YWCA, which he visited earlier this season. “I visited the YWCA a couple weeks ago and the people were so nice,” Harden said. “My mom got me into the charity and the foundation. To see the people and how nice they were, I just wanted to give back to them.”
- 11 of Harden's teammates showed up to the press conference to support their teammate. It was a fun-loving environment, as Royal Ivey filled in with the other media photographers and started snapping pictures, while Derek Fisher raised his hand during the media session, pretending that he was going to ask a question. He said afterwards that he was going to try to ask some funny questions to get some laughs and ask Harden about his beard.