The Thunder’s season opener is still seven weeks away, but Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha already are playing in "real” games.
Krstic (Serbia) and Sefolosha (Switzerland) will represent their countries the next two weeks in the European Championships in Poland.
"It’s really big in our country,” Krstic said. "You get better by playing in big games. It ends the day before I fly to Oklahoma City (for training camp), but physically I’ll be ready.”
Serbia plays in the top division. Switzerland plays in the lower division. Both teams the past two weeks have been playing tune-up games in Germany, Greece and Italy.
Krstic scored a team-high 24 points in a win over Russia in a pre-tournament game in Greece.
Sefolosha scored 16 points in an exhibition tune-up in Italy.
"Anytime you’re in a competitive situation, playing the game at a high level, there is no downside,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. "Both of those guys carry significant roles for their teams.”
Krstic, 26, is the classic 7-foot European center who has good shooting range. He began last season in the Russian pro league. After he was let out of his contract, Krstic signed with the Thunder five days after Christmas. He averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Sefolosha, 25, was acquired in a trade deadline deal with Chicago in February. Best known for his perimeter defense, Sefolosha’s off-season goal was to improve his shooting range.
"I just returned from a trip over there to visit both those guys and spend some time watching them with their national teams,” Presti said.