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Q&A with Thunder draft pick James Harden

Oklahoman Modified: June 26, 2009 at 9:32 am •  Published: June 26, 2009
Q: Can you talk about what you know about the Thunder and what you think about being drafted by them.

A: They have a great group of guys, young guys who are working hard, who have great character. And the organization, the way it’s going is tremendous. So I feel that if I go in there with the same work ethic that those guys have and just try to contribute in the best way possible that everything will work itself out. Going in there with the open mindset of just going in to work is something that I’m wanting to do.

Q: How do you think you’ll fit in with this team?

A: They’re great over there. They have a great scorer in Kevin Durant. They have an athletic and quick point guard in Russell Westbrook. A great big in Jeff Green. So me going in there just to work hard and try to help that team out the best way possible with the way that I can create for other players and score the ball as well is something that I’ll try to do.

Q: How do you plan on co-existing in the lineup with so many offensive weapons down here?

A: I’m not just a one-dimensional player and that’s what separates me from a lot of players in this draft. If they have scorers already I can go in and be a facilitator and help those guys score more. Or if they need me to score a little bit and do whatever it takes that’s what I’ll do. Defend, that’s what I’m willing to learn how to improve on and do a lot more. Handling the ball if that’s what they need me to do throughout periods of the game that’s what I’ll do as well. So different positions, different timing’s throughout the game is something that I’m willing to do.

Q: Can you talk about your workout here in Oklahoma City?

A: I think I held up. I shot the ball pretty well. I just had a great workout overall. I got a very good vibe from the people that were around me, the general manager, the coaching staff and then some of the players that were there as well. So everything was just great for the visit.

Q: Do you know Russell from the Los Angeles area?

A: Yeah, actually we grew up together. We were like 12 or 11 and went to the same boys and girls club together. And then just being around him and being an L.A. kid you kind of get to hang around him a lot more. It was fun. He’s a great player. He has great character as well.

Q: Have you spoken to him throughout this whole process?

A: Yeah. He texts me and we’ve talked a few times. Even Kevin Durant texts me and told me good luck. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high and think about being there. Since I’m there we’ll start bonding a lot more.

Q: Where do you think you are right now defensively and what do you plan on doing to improve in that area?

A: I think I’m a pretty good defensive player right now because I can think and have long arms and the ability to guard different players. But I have a long way to go as far as being the stopper that I want to be.


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