Brady Trantham

Observations from the Thunder’s Blue/White scrimmage

Observations from the Thunder’s Blue/White scrimmage

EDMOND — We got our first look at the “Reposition and Replenish” Oklahoma City Thunder today. No Russell Westbrook. No Paul George. Not even Jerami Grant.

What does the future hold for a Chris Paul-led attack? How ready is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to be the new face of the Oklahoma City Thunder? Is Mike Muscala the best player to be recruited by Sam Presti?

Those questions were not answered today. But there were some notable bullet points to keep an eye on:

  • Gilgeous-Alexander is good. The way the Thunder set up the teams helped show us the ability he has with the ball in his hands. Outside of Terrance Ferguson, the Blue team was filled with reserves and G-League guys. Gilgeous-Alexander showed off his on-ball ability. What was probably even more impressive was his tirelessness off the ball. He’s engaged every second he is on the floor.
    • On-ball: The second-year player has quite the repertoire of moves. Gilgeous-Alexander admitted that he is “not the fastest guy from end-to-end” so agility and changing speed is important to him. With his length, he has the ability to finish in the paint over taller defenders.
    • Off-ball: This has been a concern for the Thunder over the past decade. The scorers/ball-handlers and their ability to move off the ball has lacked for the most part. Gilgeous-Alexander’s energy off the ball — the hope at least — should inspire and encourage other, younger players on the roster to follow by example. 
  • Chris Paul is very good still
  • Paul and Steven Adams pick and roll is still a work in progress. After preseason and maybe a week or so of regular season games, it should be a potent attack.
  • Speaking of Adams, he had 21 rebounds. Keep in mind that the Blue team was severely disadvantaged by size. Adams toyed with newcomer Justin Patton for about four of his 21 total rebounds.
  • Hamidou Diallo is still trying to harness his athleticism into impactful play on the floor.
    • He missed open shots and even missed a put-back dunk. 
    • Appears he is still thinking about things: his shooting motion, his spacing on the floor.
    • Luckily, he is so talented that his mistakes can often lead to positive outcomes. With more playing time in the NBA, Diallo’s growth will be something to  watch.
  • No Andre Roberson today.
    • The Thunder made it clear it was for precautionary reasons. 
    • Get ready for “game time decision Andre Roberson” szn.
  • Abdel Nader looks different and plays better.
    • Handles improved. More determination on drives. Stroke is still good.
    • Will earn more playing time
  • Mike Muscala got range
    • Would have helped this team last year. Still a good option for pick and pop attacks from Paul, SGA or Dennis Schröder.

Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a featured co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12. For Sooner fans, you can also listen to the “Inside OU” podcast with John Hoover, Rufus Alexander and Brady. Brady is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports

Brady Trantham
@BradyDoesSports

Brady has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder since 2016. University of Oklahoma alum class of 2014. He has worked for the Franchise since April 2018. Co-Host of the OKC-82 Podcast and the Inside OU podcast. Co-Host of the Basketball Insider's Show on Saturdays from 10am-12.

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