Thunder Basketball

Thunder Training Camp Notes: Day 7

Thunder Training Camp Notes: Day 7

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.

Injury Updates

  • On Saturday, Billy Donovan announced that Nerlens Noel had returned to practice after a minor foot sprain. Noel participated in Sunday’s Blue/White scrimmage.
  • Alex Abrines has also been absent from practice with back spasms, and missed the scrimmage.
    • Donovan on injury updates: “Yep, both guys were back. I think with Alex this was his first day of contact in a while, so a lot of it will be to see how he responds from today, but he did basically everything today.”
  • Abdel Nader missed Sunday’s practiced with right-knee soreness.
    • Donovan: “He’s dealing with some soreness in his knee. We’re still trying to evaluate him. We rested him today, so I’m not sure where he’ll be at tomorrow.”
  • Paul George, who had a knee procedure over the summer, had been dealing with knee soreness and forearm pain all last season.
    • George on his health: “The knee thing happened during the season last year. Now I’m still working through it with the procedure to get it fully strengthened and play this year. It’s good enough, but there’s obviously a bit to work through.”
    • George on his forearm: “It feels totally better. Shooting should not be a problem this year. It feels so much better from my elbow to my shoulder. That hasn’t been an issue coming into this year.”

Paul George’s Comfort Level in Year 2

  • Donovan: “I think I see him more comfortable because one is there’s a year that we’ve spent together.  He knows all the guys on the team now. He’s played with Russell (Westbrook). He’s played with Steven (Adams). There’s a little bit more history that he can look at it in terms of what he has to do as a player.”
  • George: “I think it allows me to just be me. I know who I am as a person, as a player. Coach trusts me out there, my teammates trust me out there. Now I can just be me.”
    • Continued: “I think a lot of the people in the organization are from Oklahoma and it’s just the same level of respect, same interactions with people outside of this building. Honestly they go hand in hand. Best human beings, good people here, real genuine. Just good hearted people here.”

Did Donovan Announce Dennis Schröder Would Start In Place of Westbrook?

  • While Schröder is by far the more talented player than Raymond Felton, there is an argument to be made that if Westbrook isn’t ready for game one, that Donovan would want to keep Schröder on the bench so that he may ease into his role quicker.
    • If Westbrook isn’t ready, most believe Schröder will slide into the starting lineup for the time being.
    • Regardless, Donovan hasn’t announced that and likely won’t until pregame availability in the Thunder’s opening game against Golden State.
  • I asked Donovan if he likes where the team is at after a week of training camp and a scrimmage, and if it makes him more comfortable on making the announcement of a starter.
    • Donovan: “Yeah, I mean it’s really hard because I think when you start to get different players and pieces back to your team, whenever those pieces come back, you may have to alter starting lineups. Again, Russell is out, so Dennis is going to start. We’re going to start him there. How does that look when Russell comes back.”
    • Continued: “If Patrick Patterson is out there, how does that look? Maybe it’s better to have Jerami out there. All these different scenarios that you could potentially look at, it’s not necessarily about the player, it’s about how the player fits with what we’re doing.”
    • Continued: “I’m not really worried about having to make that decision because I realize as we start to get players back, that’s going to change. You know what I mean? Maybe who comes off the bench, who starts. What we’ll do is focus on what’s in front of us and based on the team that we have, try to go with what we feel is best. If that’s not best, then we’ll have to adjust.”

Steven Adams Handles and Half-Court Shots

Thunder Basketball
@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. Member of the Basketball Insider's Show.

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