The Oklahoma City Thunder have begun training camp for the 2018-19 NBA season. Here are some notes from the first day with quotes from players and coaches.
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot Adjusting Well
- Luwawu-Cabarrot has enjoyed his adjusting period coming from Philadelphia to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- TLC: “Easy. We have a great group of guys who make it easy for me. I’m just trying to listen to what the coach says, what the older guys who have been here longer say and just stick around.”
- Continued: “It’s different than Philly. I have to learn everything and I have to just be focused every time and do a lot of videos and just talk to the guys and be focused every time the coaches talk, just be focused and listen to what they say.”
- TLC enjoys the leadership of Russell Westbrook despite him not being able to physically participate.
- TLC: “He’s great. He’s always talking to us. He’s always joking around. He’s always here early, always here showing a good example. He’s a great vet and a great guy to be around.”
- Continued: “Oh yeah, every day. Like when we’re in the training room, when we’re in the cold tub and the locker room every day. When we get a chance, we talk and interact together.”
- TLC wants you to know how fast Dennis Schröder is.
- TLC: “He’s fast. He’s really fast. He’s a great player and I’m just trying to learn and try to see what he’s doing. I don’t have the answer right now of what to do, but I’m looking for it.”
Billy Donovan on Rule Changes
- On the clear path becoming more clear
- Donovan: “I think the clarity on some of that stuff will be a little bit interesting. The same rule (will apply) if a guy’s out, but also if players are out when the ball gets thrown.”
- Donovan on the possibility of eliminating “Euro-fouls” in the future: “The next thing that they’ll probably have to address is the take fouls in transition where it’s not a clear path and guys just take a foul, and it’s just to stop the break. I think they’ll probably evaluate some of that because I think the one thing about our game which I think is great is because of the speed and the pace at which it’s being played, the players and the greatness of these guys at this level, the openness I think they want to make that and continue to make that part of the game with the way the game is evolving into that.”
- On the shot-clock resetting to 14 seconds instead of going back to a full shot clock after an offensive rebound
- Donovan: “When you do offensive rebound, and we’ve been a good offensive rebounding team, if Steven or whoever it is doesn’t score immediately on a putback and the ball comes back out, it’s going to be very difficult to reset the offense. We’ve got to be able to continue attacking right away, and randomly probably.”
- Oklahoma City led the NBA with 1024 offensive rebounds last year, 122 more than the Denver Nuggets who were in second.
- Adams was second in the NBA averaging 5.0 offensive rebounds per game.
Donovan Slowly Moving More Towards 5-on-5’s
- Yesterday, Donovan spoke about how well the new guys were absorbing new terminology allowing him to coach at a “normal pace.”
- Today dealt more with building on that and moving from 2-on-2 drills into 5-on-5’s.
- Donovan: “So it’s specific – pick-and-roll coverages, you’re working on that 2-on-2. You’re talking about transition defense. So you create these isolated drills to work on specific parts. Totally different when you throw five or 10 guys out there and you’ve got to do those things on the fly and they’re all randomly happening.”
- Continued: “We did a lot more live play and live contact than yesterday. That’s where we’ve got to improve, being able to translate those things in drills and be able to get them into 5-on-5 play.”
Donovan on Alex Abrines’ Defensive Improvement
- Donovan: “Yeah I think he did a really good job from his rookie year to last year. I thought he was better on the ball, I thought there was a more physical presence to him at the basket.”
- Continued: “I thought he was a drastically better defender and I thought Darko (Rajaković) did a really good job working with him in trying to focus on the pre-practice skill development of working with him defensively. I think the other part that was huge too is I think the strength and conditioning staff did a great job of helping him physically get stronger.”
- Continued: “It’s his third year and I feel good about the experiences he’s had. I feel like I have confidence in Alex based on what happened last year defensively that he’s more than capable of doing that.”
- Continued:“But I will say this is that Alex put a lot of attention and a lot of focus on that and he just needs to have that kind of attention and focus on it as well this year.”