"The Thunder did a terrific job all year long causing a lot of teams a lot of problems, for the same reason they’re causing the Lakers problems right now. The Thunder, their length, their enthusiasm, their focus on defense work ethic. Their ability to use their athleticism, it’s all come to play. And it’s all benefited them.”
The Lakers seem to have a special fraternity among their former players. Why is that?
Rambis: "There’s always a connection, especially when you have players that played on championship teams. There’s always going to be lifelong connection there. There’s a lot a team has to go through and suffer through to get to that elite level and finally win.
"There’s a lot of relief goes into finally winning a championship, so there’s a lot of battle scars that everybody wears as a result of not only physical, but mental that you have to go through to get to that level. They’re always going to have that bond.”
You spent a lot of years with the Lakers. Was it tough leaving Phil Jackson’s staff to take the head coaching job at a rebuilding place like Minnesota?
Rambis: "There’s a lot of things that fell into place. I felt I was ready for my own head coaching experience for a few years prior to taking the Minnesota job. But the other situations just weren’t right. It was a combination of being in synch with general manager David Kahn. He was newly hired. We saw eye to eye on what our vision was to be for the team and the style of ball we wanted to have.”