Fresh Sense of Confidence and Excitement on Media Day

By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | mailbag@okcthunder.com

The jolly combo of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter bantered back and forth in front of reporters. Russell Westbrook hung on the shoulder of newcomer Victor Oladipo as they sang into a microphone. Nick Collison, serene with a smile, cruised through the afternoon like the veteran that he is. The work truly begins tomorrow, but Friday’s 2016 Media Day was like the first day of school, and everyone in the Thunder organization was happy to be reunited.

Steven and Enes prepare to welcome Domantas to the roster.

A video posted by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

2016 US Cellular Thunder Training Camp will work this new-look Thunder roster to its limits over the next month before the regular season begins in October, and the official start is always Media Day. It’s the time to snap all the photos, shoot videos for game nights at Chesapeake Energy Arena and television broadcasts and also the chance for the players to give the assembled press their thoughts about the upcoming season.

Players, coaches and staff stopped from station to station as the afternoon moved along, and the mood was similar yet unique. A freshness pervades this version of the Thunder, with its leader in Russell Westbrook and talented young roster providing the Oklahoma City community and fan base with a new sense of anticipation heading into the season.

How will the team play? Who will get minutes, and when? How will the season play itself out? All of those questions and more were posed on Media Day, and of course the wonder, curiosity and excitement is flowing through every Thunder fan throughout the world. Fortunately for Donovan and his crew, all of those questions will be answered in due time throughout training camp and the regular season.

"You have to adjust to the team you have and adjust night-in, night-out basis on how you want to play," Westbrook explained. "You want to play fast some nights and you want to play slow. I think it depends on the game, on the situation, who is on the floor."

Watching the stream? Russ joined. His goals for season, "Focus on the little things, being more efficient, leadership." #ThunderUp

A photo posted by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

On its quest towards the postseason, the Thunder will set its sights on what it can do each and every day to get better. Whether it’s pushing their bodies to new levels through training, building cohesiveness on the floor or testing out new lineups, the players and staff will stretch its wings as far as possible on its 2016-17 journey, with the intentional goal of finding the best version of itself by year’s end.

"(You have to) play to an identity," Donovan said. "But I think you want to at least feel like as a coach you're exhausting the whole roster and looking at a lot of different things and keeping guys engaged."

All of that work starts now, and the investment paid this week may not pay dividends until April, but it’s with that understanding that a rejuvenated and vibrant Thunder squad comes together at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center this weekend.

"It's going to be about coming in and doing the work each day and then figuring out the best way for us to play, how we can win games, build towards the end of the season and try to be the best we can be at the end of the season," Collison opined. 

On Tuesday, the Thunder will hold its annual Blue and White Scrimmage. On Friday, the team jet-sets all the way to Spain to play in the Global Games. In three weeks, preseason games against NBA foes begin and in a month, the regular season tips off and the Thunder is on its way. With all of that on the horizon, there’s plenty to look forward to, but for the team’s leadership, it’s all about right here, right now, together.


WATCH: Behind the Scenes at Thunder Media Day 2016


 

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