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.
Thunder are Scrimmaging A Lot
- Billy Donovan mentioned how much the team has scrimmaged in the first three days of training camp.
- Said it was similar to his first year with the team.
- Continuity on the roster, as well as a more clear identity have contributed to this.
- Donovan: “We’ve got 18 guys, so it’s been really good where you can take guys like Dennis and Paul and Steven (Adams) and those guys can get good reps. You can sub for those guys.”
- Continued: “Obviously it’d be great to have Russell and Andre (Roberson) out there. They’re not. My goal coming out of the first day we scrimmaged, I wanted to get some scrimmaging in just based on some of the things we did. We did a lot of five-on-five yesterday in the first practice and we probably did about 45 minutes today of five-on-five.”
Dennis Schröder is Making Strides
- Billy Donovan: “He’s got a really good feel on how to play. Really unselfish. He does a really good job of distributing the basketball. He’s got really good speed and quickness.”
- Continued: “He’s picked things up really well. I think as a point guard where you’re verbal, you’ve gotta be vocal and you’ve got to make sure everybody’s on the same page, he’s done a really good job of having a grasp of what we’re trying to do offensively.”
- Paul George: “I like Dennis. I think what they have in common is their ability to play in transition and to get from one end to the other. They both have the ability to draw in multiple defenders to them.”
- Continued: “They’re both special players. It’s been fun being out there, playing with Dennis. He’s a playmaker, a shot creator and he’s savvy. He’s savvy on both ends.”
- George on how playing with Russell Westbrook prepared him for playing with Schröder: “Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. They’re both fast with that ball and they both have a really good ability of finding me. It’s about the same in that aspect of trying to get open. As much as he’s going to make the game easy for me, I have to do that in return.”
Billy Donovan is Not Going to Ask Nerlens Noel to Shoot Threes
- Donovan was asked about when, as a coach, does he sit back and let players play or if he always wants to focus on control.
- It led to this funny exchange.
- Donovan: “I try and let guys play with freedom. But I’m not going to say, ‘Hey Nerlens (Noel), let’s go jack up some threes.’ We’re just not doing that. I want him to play within his game, the things he can do as a player. He knows what he can and can’t do.”
The Thunder Participated in Team Yoga Today
- Media availability went a tad long today as the team were going through yoga after practice.
- Asked Paul George about how he enjoyed yoga
- George: “It was great, it was like a long nap.”