Practice Report: Notes and Quotes
Nuggets from my notebook from Day 1 of training camp.
- The first thing that caught my eye upon entering today’s first practice was the Thunder’s new practice jerseys, which you can see here and here. I like ‘em.
- It took forever to get into practice today because the first day was a marathon session. Media was told to be at the facility no later than 12:30 for access. The doors to practice didn’t open until nearly 1:45.
- Thunder coach Scott Brooks later supplied the reason for such a long session. The team, for now, isn’t planning on doing two-a-days. Because of the continuity, coupled with the return to a regular camp schedule, Brooks feels that he can put everything he needs to in within two to 2 1/2 hours. He said he prefers that over bringing the guys back for a second session every day. He said he thinks it’ll help them rest.
- Of course, by the time the media was allowed in all the fun stuff was over and post-practice free throw shooting had begun. It looks like it’ll be another year of watching free throws every day, so don’t expect any insight on who looks good at practice. All I’ll probably be able to tell you is who is a good foul shooter.
- Brooks said everyone is in shape. He said he knew that was the case because most of the guys had been in town working out and he had already seen their conditioning level.
- Brooks said today was a good practice and competitive but added “I think everybody that opened up camp probably will say the same thing. It should be 30 teams that feel good about their first day. It’s a long season if you don’t.”
- Kendrick Perkins (wrist) and Thabo Sefolosha, Brooks said, both went through about half of the contact portion of practice. But Perkins did all of the non-contact activities.
- Eric Maynor wore a knee brace on his right knee and will continue to use it in practices and possibly the games. But Brooks said he’s back and good to go. “We wouldn’t put him out there if he wasn’t,” Brooks said. “He’s ready to go. I thought the last couple of weeks he really stepped up the level of intensity and really showed himself that he can get out there and do it.”
- Brooks on Maynor: “A couple of parts of practice, it was just like the old Eric, just going out there and competing and really facilitating the team.”
- Depending on how much Reggie Jackson has developed, Brooks has a potentially tough decision on when and how to play Maynor and Jackson. It seems Maynor would reclaim his normal backup spot, but if Jackson is indeed more comfortable and confident in his second season there’s no reason to believe he can’t push Maynor and fight for minutes — especially with Maynor coming off injury. Brooks even said that decision is one of the “tough parts of my job.” “There’s going to be guys that don’t play,” Brooks said. “There’s going to be guys that play short minutes. There’s going to be guys that play inconsistent minutes. And right now, there’s minutes to be earned at that backup point guard.”
- The minutes at center this preseason will also be interesting to watch. Cole Aldrich is clearly the backup center to Kendrick Perkins going into the regular season. But with Perk out for perhaps the entire preseason, it’ll give Aldrich, Daniel Orton and Hasheem Thabeet a chance to all get quality minutes. “The opportunity for Cole, Daniel and Thabeet to play those minutes is going to be important for them,” Brooks said. “They’re going to get a great opportunity. And I liked what I saw today. They’re all fighting for that opportunity.” I’ll have more on the center battle in Wednesday’s paper and on NewsOK.com later tonight.
- After Perry Jones’ first practice, Brooks said the rookie “fits in very well.” Brooks also said Jones is as fast as anybody on the team (although he must have meant not named Russell Westbrook) and added that he picked up things well.
- Kevin Durant on PJIII: “I think he’s going to be a very important part of what we do here.”
- A part of PJIII’s potential impact is his potential to be a stretch 4 defender. It’s a position that the Thunder sort of lacks the ability to contain, as evidenced by Serge Ibaka playing that role against Shane Battier in the Finals.
- Nick Collison with wiser words about PJIII and the other young guys: “They got a lot of ability. It’s a marathon, though. The test for them will be how well they can figure out how to be effective and do it over and over again.”
- Brooks reiterated that he doesn’t plan on monitoring minutes for his four Olympians. “I don’t see that as an issue. It’s good to be 23 and 24, there’s no question. That does help and that plays into part of the decision. But we’re not going two-a-days. That’s not the reason that we’re not. But these guys are going to be able to go through everything that we have planned for them. And also, knowing those four guys as well as I know them, they don’t want to sit out.”
- Expect Collison to look for his offense more this season, particularly with the mid-range jumper. He said at his exit interview back in June that he wanted to come back and be a threat in that area. And he said again today that he’s still planning on that being a part of his game this season. “I want to look for open shots and be an option,” Collison said. “With the way teams play us, they jump pick-and-rolls and we have to be able to throw out and hit shots. I shot the ball well last year. I just want to be able to make some more opportunities for myself.”
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