The Thunder signed Nazr Mohammed to be a team leader in the locker room, Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman writes. “He knows what’s right and what’s wrong,” Russell Westbrook said. “He definitely can keep everybody accountable and try to find ways to help us win more games.” Mohammed reached the finals with Oklahoma City’s 2012 team, backing up Kendrick Perkins at the five.
The team traded Perkins away at last year’s deadline and the team misses the center’s presence in the locker room, Tramel adds. Mohammed should provide leadership, just in a different way than Perkins did.
“Perk’s a special guy.” Mohammed said. “His voice is always going to be hard to replace because that’s just his personality. I speak in my own way. I’m definitely a vocal guy, but I’m more of a pull-a-guy-to-the-side-and-explain type of guy and only speaking to the group when necessary.”
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The Nuggets believed Emmanuel Mudiay could be an elite player when they drafted him No. 7 overall last summer and although he struggled to begin the season, the point guard is starting to look the part, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “For a 19-year-old kid, to kind of go through the adversity that he was going through, he bounced back in a big way. That gives me so much hope and excitement for the future,” coach Mike Malone said.
- The Blazers embrace coach Terry Stotts and the team’s chemistry is a major reason why Portland is in the playoff hunt this season, Jason Quick of Comcast Sportsnet. Portland has a team option on Stotts for next season. “I always want to play hard for him,’’ said Ed Davis, who joined the team on a three-year, $20MM deal last offseason. “That’s one thing I can say: Everybody on this team can play for Coach, and it’s not like that on every team.”