Camp Observations: Day 1
* Earl Watson, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and Nick Collison made up the Blue team, forming what could be the Thunder’s opening night starting unit. Coach P.J. Carlesimo, however, said don’t read anything into it as the lineups are likely to change daily and he simply wanted to get the returning guys time together on the first day.
* Russell Westbrook, Damien Wilkins, Desmond Mason, Joe Smith and Johan Petro formed the second string White team, and John Lucas, Kyle Weaver, Derrick Byars, Robert Swift and Chris Alexander made up the third-string Red team.
* P.J. ran a near three-hour practice on the first day, using most of it as a day of teaching. From what I caught in the final 20 minutes the media was allowed inside practice, he instructed on how he wants to box out and get out on the break on opponent free throw attempts and when and when not to call timeouts. It was interesting to hear him instruct his team to not call 20-second timeouts in the first 15 minutes of the first half or the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter. He said he’d rather save them in the last nine minutes of the first half and last three minutes of the game. It sounded more like football strategy than basketball, but P.J.’s been coaching longer than I’ve been alive. So what do I know? We’ll see how the strategy works this season.
* John Lucas was the last one on the practice court. He and Nick Collison, an interesting pairing, were shooting 3-pointers at the end of practice. Collison’s stoke looked good from beyond the arc.
* Jeff Green’s stroke looks effortless. For a below average shooter last year, Jeff’s easy stroke was shocking. It looks like he’s so strong that he barely has to fire it up. On this day, albeit a short glimpse of his post-practice shooting, I saw him miss more than he made.
* Kyle Weaver’s shot looks awkward. It was going in on this day, but he has more of a push release than a shooting stroke.
* Kevin Durant was hard on himself when he missed practice shots at the free throw line.
* The practice facility is gorgeous. Why it has the word “temporary” would baffle the mind of anyone who isn’t familiar with NBA practice facilities. But for as much work that went into the facility, the Thunder could stand to have another full length to have two practice courts like most teams, the weight room is not in a separate enclosed area and, while I haven’t seen it first hand, I’m betting the space limitations of the facility prevented the construction crews from building a large, plush locker room. That said, these guys should have no complaints for the next two years.
* The Uni Watch guy has weighed in on the Thunder’s threads. Not surprisingly, he didn’t care for them. Not too many people nationally care for much this organization has done.
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