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Thunder Players on (Future teammate?) Blake Griffin

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm •  Published: November 19, 2008

Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook sat courtside at last night’s OU-Davidson game in Norman to get an up close and personal look at Blake Griffin and Stephon Curry. All three were impressed with the individual performances of the two All-Americans, and this morning I asked the Thunder players about Griffin’s potential, the possibility of teaming with him next season and Curry’s career night. Here’s what they had to say……

Jeff Green
Q: What were your impressions of Blake?
A: Strong player. He plays very hard. He’s on the boards like a monster. He’s a great player, a good athletic guy.

Q: How do you see his game translating to the league?
A: It’ll be a good transition. He’s still not perfect. It’s a lot of things he needs to work on, developing a consistent jump shot. But other than that he’s a good talent, and he looks like he works hard. I know Jeff Capel makes him work hard. So he’ll be in good hands.

Q: Was there ever a moment during the game where you thought this could be my teammate next season?
A: (Laughs). Nah. I was just out there watching basketball. Two good college players going at it. I never really stopped to think about that.

Q: Could you see him fitting on the Thunder?
A: You never know. We could use a lot of pieces. You never know what we need in another year. Whatever we need, I’m sure we’ve got guys in the back room that can handle that.

Q: What were your impressions of Stephon Curry?
A: Tremendous shooter. He does it all for the team. He pretty much carries his team. He’s a good leader. He keeps his composure very well. You saw that last night. He hit that big 3 at the end. But he’s a good player. He’s a tremendous shooter.

Russell Westbrook
Q: What were your impressions of Blake.
A: He’s good. He’s strong. He gets every rebound, I know that. He’s active.

Q: Was there ever a moment during the game where you thought this could be my teammate next season?
A: No. I never think like that, because you know what, we’re about to start winning some games. So I never thought like that.

Q: How do you see his game translating to this level?
A: It’s going to be big. He’s going to play the four. He’s strong, quick and athletic. I’m pretty sure he’s going to do a great job ending this year, and hopefully if he decides to leave he’ll do a great job at the next level.

Q: I saw you exchanging some words with Curry during the game. I remember you shut him down last season and held him to 15 points on 6-for-19 shooting in a 75-63 win. What were you guys saying to each other last night?
A:That’s my man, Curry. I told him good game. He said he was happy to see me this year. But he’s a great player, the hardest player I’ve had to guard.

Q: But were you talking trash to him during the game? He hit a 3-pointer in the first half and he turned around and…
A: He turned around and looked at us because I was like, ‘Good shot. And one.’ Because it was a good shot and he still made it. And he smiled at us. But I wasn’t talking mess. I just said “And one.” He shot it and the dude kind of hit his arm and he still made it. And he looked at us and smiled at us.

Q: What do you think Curry’s going to be like at the next level?
A: I think he’s going to be good. He can shoot the ball. You can’t give him no space. He’s smart. He’s playing point this year. He’s dishing the ball off real well. He’s going to be alright as long as he keeps playing the same way.

Kevin Durant
Q: Your impressions of Blake Griffin?
A: Man, that was unbelievable to be honest with you to see those two dudes just go at it the way they did. I know Blake Griffin didn’t score as many points as Steph did. But the way he controlled the game on the boards and how well he scored in the second half to put his team up, it was unbelievable. Blake Griffin is a helluva player.

Q: How do you see his game translating to this level?
A: He’ll be a phenomenal rebounder, of course. He’ll be a guy that does a lot of dirty work that can score inside. Once he gets some face-up ability to shoot over the top of guys he’ll be unstoppable. I know in a matter of time he’ll be in the league, but he’s a great college player right now.

Q: Is there anybody in the league now or from the past that you compare his game to?
A: Down the line, I see him as like a Carlos Boozer. A more athletic Carlos Boozer. He’s going to be a great player, man. I was impressed last night with him and Curry and also Willie Warren played well, too.

Q: Did you ever play against Warren in high school or on the AAU circuit?
A: No. I played against Blake Griffin, though, in Vegas. I didn’t know who he was. He was rebounding and dunking like (crazy). He dunked once so hard against us. It was the summer going into my senior year in Las Vegas at the Nike tournament they had. They don’t count rebounds in AAU but he had to have a double-double. So I knew he was going to be good.

Q: Was there a moment were you were thinking last night this could be my teammate next year?
A: (Laughs). Nah, because anything can happen in the NBA. You never know who’s going to be on your team. Like I didn’t know Russell Westbrook would be on my team this year. So anything can happen. But I know for sure he’s going to be in the NBA. But I don’t know when or who he’s going to play for.

Q: Your impressions on Curry’s performance?
A: People say he was off and he still had 44. For him to be a 6-2 guard and not as athletic as a lot of these guards today and how he gets his shot off and how he gets to the basket and looks for his teammates (was impressive). He had five or six assists, too. Six or seven maybe. He’s just a phenomenal scorer. I remember when I was 10 years old and I played against him and he was shooting NBA 3s nothing but net. So he’s a great scorer and it was a fun game to watch.

Q: And you couldn’t help yourself, huh, when you got on the big screen and flashed a sign a lot of people around here don’t like?
A: You know I had to do it. Really, I hate playing in there. The atmosphere is good for basketball, but the fans are crazy. They love OU, obviously. But it was good to get back and represent the Horns. Of course (they booed me). One fan was so mad after the game. He was like, ‘That’s why the Thunder are losing.’

-DM-


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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