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Northwest Notes: Roberson, Jazz, Grant

Thunder swingman Andre Roberson is excited to see what changes Billy Donovan, the team’s new coach, will bring to the franchise, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes. “He’s a great guy,” Roberson said. “I think he’ll be a great fit for us. A guy that definitely knows the game. He’s willing to learn. And he’s all about the program. I think that’s what we need. And I’m glad he’s a part of this Thunder organization.” Roberson isn’t sure if his role as a starter will change under the new regime, Mayberry adds. “We’re going to have to see,” Roberson continued. “Nobody knows where they’re set besides Russell [Westbrook], Kevin [Durant] and Serge [Ibaka]. It’s going to be a new coach, new system. I think we’re all up for the challenge. We’re all in this together. So it doesn’t matter if I’m starting, whether I’m not starting, I’m going to go out there and do what I do every night and provide for my team. So it’s going to be good.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders, who had previously been leaning toward selecting Jahlil Okafor with the No. 1 overall pick, is now enamored with Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Mark Heisler of relays. The change in Saunders’ thinking occurred after watching Towns work out last week, Heisler adds.
  • Penn State guard D.J. Newbill took part in a group workout held by the Thunder on Wednesday, Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops tweets.
  • Steve Starks, the president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, wants to return the Jazz franchise to the success it had enjoyed back in the 1990s, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. “It’s no secret that we want to build a consistent championship-caliber team,” Starks said. “Our ultimate goal is to raise a banner. I wake up in the morning thinking about how we do that.
  • The Thunder traditionally like to carry three point guards, and Notre Dame playmaker Jerian Grant could fit the bill when the team selects at the No. 14 overall pick this June, Mayberry writes in a separate piece. One of the concerns NBA scouts have relating to Grant is his age, 22, which somewhat limits his ceiling compared to a number of other point guards in this year’s draft, Mayberry notes. “I work harder than anyone in this draft so I know that I’m going to continue to get better,” Grant said. “Me being old, I think, is just I’m ready to go right now. I’m ready to help a team right now. But at the same time, a few years down the road I think I’ll be even better [able] to help a team.”

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