The Thunder on Monday announced the signing of guard Walker Russell to a contract. The 6-foot, 170-pound Russell appeared in 28 games with the Detroit Pistons last season, averaging 3.0 points, 2.1 assists in 12.8 minutes per game.
Walker, who turns 30 on Saturday, played collegiately at Jacksonville State and spent five seasons in the NBA Developmental League, where he averaged 15.1 points, 8.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 132 contests.
The Thunder's training camp roster now stands at 19 players, with nine guards.
Russell was on hand for Media Day on Monday.
Safe to assume you were happy to get a call from the Thunder?
“Oh, definitely, man. It's been blessing. Coming from Detroit to here has been a total 360. I'm just looking forward to an opportunity.”
What did you think of the Thunder from the outside looking in and is it what you envisioned from what you've seen so far?
“It's everything that I thought and I heard it was. I remember coming in here last year playing for the Pistons. It was a Monday night and it was sold out, just the whole atmosphere. They kicked our butts in the first 15 minutes … and we went on our merry way. One of the best facilities and the whole organization is very, very, very professional and I appreciate that."
What do you think general manager Sam Presti likes about you most to bring you here?
“(I'm an) Old-School point guard. The point-guard position now in the NBA is a little different, it's more of a scoring (position). Last year in Detroit. I think I opened up a few people's eyes in seeing I could run the team and hold the fort down while the starters were getting some rest.”
They've got a bunch of guards at camp.
“They do, but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm here to show what I can showcase and hope to help the Thunder.”
Your early thoughts on the players?
“I can see that everybody's like a family here. Every time we work out, we always bring it in (for a huddle). What can I say about those guys? Young guys, who made it to the Finals last year. There's really nothing I can say. They've shown everybody what's going on.”
What do they expect from you in training camp?
“Sam said: ‘I've been following you for a while. I like your game.' He just wants me to come out here and show what I can do. I've been out here the past couple of weeks and they've been impressed. I don't think they knew I could do some of the things I could do. Like I said, last year was a big boost of confidence. Now I've seen what the NBA is about.”
What work have you done the last few weeks?
“Drills, scrimmages, they got to see that I can run the team. I got some wins, playing with KD (Kevin Durant), showing them I could help the team, just running the offense.”
How are you going to shut down Russell Westbrook?
“Umm, shutting down Russ is going to be tough. (smiling) I don't know too many people who can shut down anybody. Just contain him and show that I'm competitive and I'm not scared to go against anybody.”
You've been around, having made previous stops in the Dominican Republic (2011), China (2011), Germany (2010-11), Puerto Rico (2010), Bulgaria (2009-10), Madrid (2008) and the Czech Republic (2006-07).
“I've always been the guy where people have told me I was never going to get to this level. To me, I've been a grinder. That's all I know is to grind and get where I want. Me coming in every day and being a professional … I think my maturity level really surprised a lot of people.”