The Norman Transcript


September 26, 2013

Optimistic Presti likes his squad but not ready to guarantee Finals berth



That didn’t dissuade Presti’s outlook.

“For us, we’re focused on how we grow, how we improve. We’ve never been a huge free agency team. With that being said, I think that group that we have is proven. They’ve been together. They’ve been through some ups and downs, but the core of the team is pre-prime players. So I think it’s safe to assume that when we made our commitments, when we designed the infrastructure of the team, we want to be in a position where we’re capable of playing at an extremely high level year in and year out, but also with the opportunity to add to the team. I think more than anything, we’re sticking to that approach.”

Will that translate to a championship run, or in Presti speak, ‘a high level of success?’

He wouldn’t make any guarantees beyond assuring that he’s confident in the team.

“In terms of the team itself, we’re excited about the fact that we have a nice mix of players. We have some veterans on this team that are going to help us. We’re also excited about some young, emerging players,” Presti said.

Even without adding too much to the mix, bright young spots like point guard Reggie Jackson and shooting guard Jeremy Lamb could play an increased role this season. Jackson saw more time on the court when Russell Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus during last season’s Western Conference quarterfinal series against Houston. He couldn’t quite fill Westbrook’s shoes (few could), but showed flashes of brilliance, as did Jeremy Lamb during extensive runs with Thunder D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers.

“Then, we have a very unique blend of pre-prime players with an inordinate and unique amount of experience in the postseason, and most of all, one of the things that we really enjoy about this team and looking forward to is the fact that they’ve been together for a while. Obviously, they’ve enjoyed a bunch of high performance, a lot of winning, but they’ve also gone through some valleys as well and had to live through some adversity together,” he said.

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