The season is officially underway.
I just returned from media day, where optimism was high but cautiously tempered. Few players wanted to talk about the playoffs as an attainable goal this season but all seemed to have that destination in their minds. It was almost shocking how candid the players were in discussing what we all know to be true about the brutal schedule to start the season and how the silly mistakes of yesteryear can’t crop up again if this season is to be a success.
This will be the first of many posts from today’s thorough session of interviews. Bare with me as I sift through what seems like an endless amount of tape. I’ll update into the evening as I go, but I’ll start by giving your a preview of reader-submitted questions I asked Kevin Durant today. (And with Durant having so many obligations today I’d like to thank him again for taking the time to answer these, some of which might not appear in Tuesday’s paper.)
Q: Do you see the Thunder’s record improving, and if so by how much? And is there a specific goal for this year’s team that will define whether this season is a success?
A: I’m not big on that, but I think we’re a better team so yeah. But I don’t know how many wins we’re going to get. I can’t predict that. I think a lot of people outside of our organization want to see me say we’re going to the playoffs or we’re going to the second round of the playoffs. But I think if we just continue to get better the fans will see that if they’re watching the games. They’ll see we’re getting better and better so that’s the good part.
Paul Taylor, Oklahoma City
Q: Where do you see your basketball career with the Thunder in two years?
A: Hopefully we’re a playoff team by then and we’re recognized as one of the top tier teams. So I’m excited for what we have in store.
Gaudy Deleon, Oklahoma City
Q: Who do you see filling the void left by Desmond Mason’s departure?
A: James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha are going to fill that role. It’s on those two.
Dave Parker, Oklahoma City
Q: Does Velvet Hoop plan on making any more music videos this year?
A: I asked that myself, but as of right now I don’t know. I hope. I want to. That’s the goal.
Steve Jackson, Oklahoma City
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in Oklahoma City and the most obnoxious thing an Oklahoma native has said to you about you being a UT alum?
A: Mickey Mantle’s. And they haven’t really said anything too harsh. They just always throw the horns down. That hurts me a lot.
Brian Downs, Edmond
Q: How dominant do you think you can be if you bulk up?
A: I think I’ll be pretty good. But the way my body is I don’t think I could ever be really bulked up. So you’ve just got to like what you see. But I try my best to be one of the best players to play this game.
Evan Eitzen, Fairview