Thunder Basketball

Thunder Training Camp Notes: Day 4

Thunder Training Camp Notes: Day 4

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.

The Thunder Really Want to Play Faster This Time

  • All preseason, the Thunder have stressed wanting to “play faster.”
    • Sam Presti mentioned that didn’t necessarily mean by running a fast break every possession, but by making quicker decisions on both sides of the floor.
    • Fluidity has also been a focus when talking to Billy Donovan.
  • Patrick Patterson today: “Everything that we do offensively, defensively, talking, communication, guarding our man one on one, helping each other out on the help side, just knowing we need to be there and get there as quickly as possible.”
    • Continued: “Offense, being able to make the decision in a short amount of time and not having to hold onto the ball. If there’s an advantage, try to find that advantage as quickly as possible. Get as many opportunities early in the shot clock which will allow you to have more during the course of the game.”
  • Donovan: “We’ve always been really fast on missed shots. We get out fast on missed shots. But I think at times on made baskets we’ve been a more slow-it-up team. We’ve got to play with more tempo.”
    • Continued: “The person that in-bounds the ball, to the people running the lanes, to him (Russell Westbrook) getting the ball across half-court, to everything we have to do, the five guys that are out there, everybody’s kind of involved in that part of it.

Unlike Last Year, Patrick Patterson Is Healthy and Ready to Make an Impact

  • Last year, Patterson missed all of training camp and hit the ground running with the Thunder game 1 against the New York Knicks.
  • Patterson: “My main thing was just coming in healthy, coming in focused and then having a great preseason and having a great training camp, I should say. Getting that under my belt and then the rest will fall in line after that.”
    • Patterson mentioned that “overall,” he feels better than last year.
    • His diet has changed, and he looks much different.

Generating Good Shots Has Been a Focus For Donovan

  • In addition to playing faster, Donovan has stressed generating quality shots during scripted 5-on-0’s as well as 5-on-5’s.
  • Donovan: “We didn’t shoot the ball great last year. You just look at where we ranked, we have to be better from the free throw line and from the three point line we weren’t great.”
  • Continued: “Again I think you want to generate good shots, but even when you generate good shots, you want to be able to have guys shoot the ball with confidence and feel good about the shots they are getting.”
    • Continued: “You try and put guys in situations where they’re taking them during the game. It’s different, even when you’re scripting 5-on-0 a lot of times, the guy gets a shot but in a lot of ways it’s not realistic because the guy is wide open. So you try and do the best job you can making shots, ball movement and generating good shots is helpful.”
  • Patterson: “When you have the ball and when you have the opportunity to shoot it, shoot it. That’s the most important thing. But driving, kicking, penetrating, trying to create opportunities for your teammates, being more selfless when you’re out there on the court, try and push it and get by your man in order to draw help from the defense and then try to find another teammate who is open. If that teammate is open enough, take the shot.”

Andre Roberson Still Not Able to Jump or Move Laterally, but Shot Looks Crisp

  • Roberson is still unable to move laterally still.
    • Donovan: “He looks good running, he looks good moving. But I think it’s totally different trying to regain your timing and those kind of things. Like anything else, you want to be able to develop confidence. When you’ve had the type of injury he had, I’m sure starting, stopping, cutting, moving, there’s a confidence that he’s got to build up, like ‘hey, my foot, my knee, everything’s OK here.’”
      • Continued: “He’s done nothing with us on the court at this point and time, more because of the physical contact we’ve done in drills. The practices have been up and down. In the half court it’s been contact. He just can’t do those things. Someone asked me if he’s jumping in there. Really, it’s been hard for him to jump into anything with the way practice has been.”
  • Roberson, who has worked with a shooting coach in the off-season, participated with teammate Alex Abrines in a little around the world three point shooting.
  • Roberson is not able to jump and stays mostly on the floor, but his shooting motion is a tad different and more fine tuned. Ball had nice rotation and he got the ball off quicker than we’ve seen before.
  • Nothing too extreme, Donovan spoke at length about the differences between shooting at practice and in a game, but it is something to look for.



Thunder Basketball

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. Member of the Basketball Insider's Show.

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