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OKC Thunder: Sam Presti says Thunder can build off success, strengths of last season

Despite a relatively stale summer as far as player movement, the Thunder general manager said Oklahoma City has a chance to be better than ever.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: September 25, 2013

Sam Presti was peppered with 26 questions for more than half an hour Wednesday afternoon.

The best was the fourth, the shortest and most significant.

“How do you think the team has gotten better this off-season?”

It was an inquiry that dismissed any preconceived notions and disregarded all pessimism that had been built by a relatively stale summer. And it forced Presti to think, requiring the Thunder general manager depart briefly from his script and spell out how exactly this team could be better when its inactivity primarily suggests it's gotten worse.

“Well,” Presti said, “I think it all comes down to how you define ‘better.'”

And with that, Presti spent the better part of the next 30 minutes detailing his definition during his annual preseason news conference. Along the way, he expressed excitement and extreme confidence in his club, choosing to view widespread question marks not as concerns but as opportunities.

“We're excited about the opportunity to build on the success and strengths of last season,” Presti said, “and we think we have an opportunity to do that.”

Following a 60-win season, the Thunder lost sixth man Kevin Martin to Minnesota and struck out on all of its attempts at replacing him with a proven veteran. The team is now expected to look to guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, two players with 138 career games between them, to step in and supply greater contributions. So far, it sounds like both have met and perhaps exceeded expectations.

“I think Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have, really, almost pushed the standards higher for some of the younger players that will follow them in our program in the future,” Presti said. “They've been incredibly diligent. The time they've put in and the quality of the work has been exceptional.”

Their success over the summer shouldn't come as a surprise. The Thunder has been here before. An untold strength of the Thunder has been the team's ability to withstand key losses such as Jeff Green and James Harden and still improve following their departures. Presti credit his club for adjusting and adapting.

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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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