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Best of the Exit Interviews

Best of the Exit Interviews

The Thunder held the 2016-17 exit interviews on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, and they didn’t disappoint in terms of quotes/soundbites. Below is a collection of bits and pieces, with a few videos as well.

Russell Westbrook

On being the leader:

“Each day making sure I came in and wasn’t making it about me. As a leader, obviously, with me playing and people understanding that I’m the leader from the outside looking in, but that don’t necessarily mean you a leader. I truly believe that, and think there’s a lot of guys people just give them the leader because they’re the best player. That is not how it work for me. I think you have to earn the right for people to say you’re the leader.”

On signing an extension this summer:

“I haven’t thought about anything, obviously. Everybody knows that I like Oklahoma City, and I love being here and I love everybody here. But I haven’t even thought about that. I’m worried about making sure my wife is all right along with everything else. It doesn’t really matter at this point, and that’s the most important thing right now with me moving forward.”

On getting better as a player:

“There’s different things that I can improve on. Off the top of my head, finding different ways to make my teammates better. There are games where I can look at the film where I can see ways to make my teammates better.”

On the upcoming summer:

“We have a lot of great guys that want to get better. They know what it feels like to be in the playoffs and the sacrifice and different things that it takes to move forward. It’s going to be a good summer for us.”

Victor Oladipo

On his season:

“Remember the good, remember the bad. I remember the ups, remember the downs. Learn from them and grow. It’s going to be a big summer for me. Huge summer for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

On his upcoming summer:

“I’m gonna work, work some more, and after I work some more after that, I’m going to work some more after that. It’s going to be a summer of work for me.”
“I know what I need to work on. I know what I need to get better at. I know what to expect now — I’ve played with these guys for a year. I know what my role is. It’s going to be a very relentless summer.”

On being in OKC:

“Overall I’m glad to be here. Glad to be in the Western Conference. Just gonna continue to get better so I can reach my limit.”

Steven Adams

On what changed from last season:

“It was just different. On the basketball side of things, they were taking stuff away, rolls and packing the paint or whatever. That was different. I had to adjust to that. The team chemistry was amazing. With everything that happened and what we had, to be able to make it this far was incredible in itself. Everyone in the facility is a good person. Whoever comes in, the environment around us, there’s immediate trust.”

On Russell Westbrook:

“Playing with him…. All the players, they don’t really care what the stats are. He has amazing nights, and obviously it’s amazing. It just comes down to him being awesome and a really good dude.”
“He’s not trying to separate himself, although it’s quite a big…. Let’s be fair, it’s out there. He’s trying to bring us with him the best he can.”

On what he learned defensively:

“Defensively…it was a lot different, just cause I was used to having Serge. He cleans up a lot of the stuff. I learned I have to be more aggressive and stop them earlier. I don’t really like challenging at the rim.”

Nick Collison

On the 2016-17 season:

“It’s not easy to win in the league. It’s a tough league. For us to come in and have a good year and feel like we were competitive every night, it was a fun challenge. It was different but it ended up being a real satisfying year.”

On retirement:

“I plan to play, for sure. I wasn’t sure going into the season how I would feel at the end of the year. But I still enjoy playing. I enjoy being around the group, I enjoy being on the team. I think I still have something to offer. The team has a lot on their plate, we’ll see what happens. I’ve been treated great here.”
“Hopefully it will work out, but that’s the way it goes.”

On Russell Westbrook:

“The way he competes, his leadership. Statistically, all those things he accomplished were incredible. As a player I think you just remember the way he is and the way he competes and what he’s like. The way he is around the guys. For me, as long as I’ve been here, all the games and battles, he’s always been right there.”

Semaj Christon

The best part of the season:

“I hit the shot for Russ, probably. And we won.”

Alex Abrines

On being more of a threat:

“That’s what I’m going to work on this summer. This year, I was more like a shooter. I know I can put the ball on the floor and help the team in penetration, helping get open shots for other guys. I like to work and get better.”
“I know I can do more things, I know I’m not just a shooter. I just want to be a complete player. Shooter, mid-range, dunker if I can, help on the rebound. I just want to help the team as much as possible.”

Taj Gibson

On Russell Westbrook:

“Russ is a great guy, people don’t understand that. Guys should want to come here and play with a guy like Russ.”

On his future in OKC:

“I wanted to let Sam know I wanted to be here. I had a long talk with Sam and Coach Billy. First class organization. Hope I can be back.”

Domas Sabonis

On if he is playing in his first Summer League:

“Yes, we have a schedule with the Thunder and I’ll be playing Summer League this summer.”

On his starting role:

“It helped me a lot just to gain experience. To learn the game. I thought I knew what I was going to come into, but you never know. It’s your first season and everything is a lot different and I think this season helped me a lot to help me prepare for next year.”

Jerami Grant

On meeting the team:

“It was cool. Everybody was loving and brought me in. It was easy. I didn’t have to do too much.”

On watching Russ:

“It was definitely amazing being able to see that. Historic season. Just watching it, being on the court with him. It was an honor.”

On the dunk contest:

“Yeah, if they ask me.”

Doug McDermott

On Westbrook:

“I thought he was crazy, playing against him the first few times. Still think he’s crazy.”
“He’s been very enjoyable to play with, obviously great guy in the locker room. He’s a really good dude off the floor, real humble. It makes our jobs a lot easier when our best player shows that toward his teammates. We all appreciate that.”

On adding to his game:

“I think I can play a little 3 and 4. I think I showed in that series I can play against 4’s, and the way the league is trending, it’s getting smaller. A lot of small ball. Guys that can really spread the floor, regardless of the position… I feel like I’m just a basketball player. I don’t really feel like there’s a specific position. Whenever I’m out there, I’m going to be moving without the ball, doing as much as I can to spread the floor and make it easy on my teammates.”

Andre Roberson

On being a lockdown defender:

“I always told myself to be a star in your role and master your craft. That’s what I’m trying to do. Be one heck of a defender and then work around that.”

On if he should be First-Team All Defense:

“I definitely feel like it. I definitely feel like I should be in Defensive Player of the Year discussion. But like I said, everything takes care of itself.”

On his contract:

“I’m just going to see how it plays out. It’s my first time going through it, so I don’t really know what to expect. I just got done talking to Sam, going to talk to my agent soon to get both sides. We’ll see where we go from there.”

On being back with the Thunder next season:

“Definitely want to be back. Definitely do anything to work it out. Love the team, love the organization, love what we’re all about. I definitely want to stick around. I think we can work something out.”

On his free throws:

“I’ve been working on my free throws all year long. I don’t know why this year was more tough than previous, but it’s something that I gotta continue to improve. I’ve been working on it every day. Not getting the results I’ve wanted, but I’m sticking with it.”

Enes Kanter

On “Haters”:

“When we started the season, no one thought we could make the playoffs. We showed the haters we could do that.”

On Thunder fans:

“Some teams, some cities, when you start losing, they don’t even come to games. But when you look at Thunder fans, Thunder Nation, sometimes if you lost some games, sometimes we win some games — we have good games, bad games, but they’re always there to support us. They’re always there to cheer for us.”

On why the team had success:

“Everybody was focused during the season, and everybody gave 100 percent and played with the edge. That was the most important thing, and then everybody had fun.”

On pick-and-roll defense against Houston:

“It was a little different for me, because I’d never played in a drop before. You can always learn and go from there.”