NORMAN — After five years in Oklahoma City, Thunder general manager Sam Presti kicked off Wednesday’s preseason press conference with his familiar brand of optimism, sticking by his mantra of competitiveness now and in-house development for the future.
“We want to get better on a daily basis. We want to be in a position where we’re playing our best basketball at the end of the season and we’re focused on building those habits early on and finding ways throughout the year to maximize the group that we have, to optimize the group that we have. And if we’re fortunate enough to get to the postseason, be in a position to really impact the postseason,” Presti said. “And we’re excited about taking that mentality. It has worked well for us in the past and we’re going to continue to subscribe to that.”
Westbrook’s recovery should’ve been another reason for Presti to be excited, but he was cautious about doling out details on his return.
“He’s on pace to this point in the recovery process, but we’re not going to put a specific timetable on his return, simply because it’s too big a decision. His health is most important, not just for this season but for many, many years to come. He’s done an excellent job, showed unbelievable discipline and rigor through the process. We expect him to come back full strength, but he’s got to finish the rest of the benchmarks and once he does, it will be a medical decision and we’ll be happy to have him back on the floor.”
On paper Oklahoma City looks like pretty much the same team, less Kevin Martin and DeAndre Liggins, plus draft additions Steven Adams and Andre Robinson, who may have little pressing impact this season.