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Tuesday Bolts: 9.25.18

Brett Dawson (The Athletic) on a welcomed dull Media Day in OKC: “All I know is whatever it takes for the team to win games, I do it,” Schröder said. “If I’m coming off the bench, if I start, whatever it is, I’ll be ready for that challenge because I think we’ve got a special group this year, and we can surprise a lot of teams.” It was a safe answer, in keeping with the afternoon. Oklahoma City’s media day came and went without a ready made meme or a trend-worthy topic. There were injury updates and style of play questions, platitudes and cliches. It was, frankly, a little boring. And the Thunder could use a good dose of dull.”

Jeff Patterson (NewsOK) with 10 interesting quotes from Media Day: “I’ve always done the same thing I’ve always been doing. For me, I’m a real person. I’m real. I keep it 100, straightforward. I don’t go out and be someone I’m not just to get somebody to stay because that’s considered being fake, and for me, I be myself at all times as you guys know, and it’s important to do that, and that’s part of being a leader, part of being a leader of this team, an organization, and that’s what I do.” -Russell Westbrook on his role in recruiting players to stay with or come to Thunder

Jimmy Do (OKCThunder.com) with a behind-the-scenes look at Media Day: “There was no shortage of cameras and microphones for this friendly reunion as players, team staffers and media members reacquaint themselves and their surroundings after a summer respite. The get-to-know-you-again session featured plenty of photo shoots and fun throughout the day. Soon enough, the players mingling inside Chesapeake Energy Arena today know the 18,203 Thunder faithful are waiting for the highly-anticipated home opener on Oct. 21 coming off the road trip to start the season. And this time, Loud City will be on hand to cheer them on with that unbridled fervor unmatched in the league. Until then, here is a behind-the-scenes look from this year’s Thunder Media Day.”

Royce Young on Paul George’s belief in the Thunder’s ability to contend: “Absolutely,” Paul George told ESPN when asked if the Thunder are built to contend. “We’ve got the chemistry. Me being around these guys going on about to be two years now, there’s an expectation and a level we know we need to play at. I think the consistency part you’ll see with us now being able to play well against the sub-.500 teams. But I definitely think this team has a chance. The reason why I signed back here is because I believed in it. And everybody in here believes. It’s on us, we’ve got our work cut out and it’s not going to be easy, but we’re up for it.”

Cliff Brunt (AP) on Andre Roberson inching closer to full health: “The Oklahoma City swingman missed the second half of last season with a ruptured left patellar tendon. He expects to be cleared for contact soon and back to full speed around December. “There’s a return to basketball and there’s a return to performance, being back to my elite self on the defensive end and me just being cleared to play basketball is two different things,” he said Monday at media day. “And it’s going to be a process to kind of get back to where I was, just me being comfortable with my leg again and me getting back into the rhythm of basketball sitting out so long.” General manager Sam Presti shied away from a timetable when asked about Roberson last week.”

Erik Horne on Dennis Schroder’s fresh start in OKC: “The Thunder completed the trade of Anthony for Schroder and Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot on July 25. Rather than a weekend, Schroder has had a month to get indoctrinated in Thunder culture. One person in the Thunder organization said Schroder has used that time wisely. Schroder has been particularly inquisitive about the methods of Westbrook. Schroder draws on-court inspiration from Westbrook and he’ll inevitably share court time with him when the 2016-17 MVP returns from arthroscopic knee surgery. “It was pretty fast. It was really tough to guard us,” Schroder said of the brief experience of playing with Westbrook this summer. “That’s what really excites me right now. To play with Russ and Paul George, to be out there with them, I think means a lot for me.”

Ananth Pandian (247 Sports) on Nerlens Noel’s excitement for this season: “It’s just definitely the play style, and even watching last year’s Playoffs, just seeing what they needed, with a backup big, just another big that can go out there and have the ability to switch out 1 through 5. I’ve always imagined myself on a team like this, honestly, just a championship-built team, and I always felt like I was the type of player that can complement and just really put it over the top and really bring everything I have, athleticism, abilities offensively, defensively, pick-and-roll, opening up, spread the floor for shooters with the one-five, just little things that are really hard to guard, and defensive end guarding, rebounding, blocking shots. All those things are just little things that can really help you get over that hump to get to where you want to be.”

Bill Haisten (Tulsa World) on Chapter 2 of the Westbrook/George duo: “Because Westbrook and George have gotten beyond the getting-acquainted phase of their partnership, George says there should be less fluctuation in team performance. Last season, OKC was mostly good against the better teams in the league. There were way too many losses to average and below-average opponents. “That’s the reason why I’m here for year two,” George explained. “I knew it wasn’t going to be something that happened in one year (of) being with this group. You’ve got to build certain habits, and (those are) the habits we’re hoping that we build. That consistency.”

Around the League: Jimmy Butler has no interest in returning to Minnesota…. Carmelo Anthony won’t rule out a bench role in Houston…. Recapping Media Day around the NBA…. Kawhi Leonard laughed and he should never do it again…. How JR Smith bounced back from Game 1 of the Finals…. 10 stories worth noting as training camp begins…. 8 moments worth remembering from NBA Media Days.