Several rules are a point of emphasis in the NBA this season, and one unquestionably will impact the Thunder.
When pregame introductions have concluded, teams will have 90 seconds to return to the court for the opening tip. The previous two seasons, OKC players routinely kept officials and opponents waiting before the start of every game, sometimes a full minute or more.
Before Tuesday night's preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Thunder players noticeably rushed their routines before stepping onto the court in time for the tip. Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant was in the middle of his on-court greetings with teammates when the ball was put in play.
“I personally don't like it,” Durant said of the 90-second rule. “Every player in this league has routines they do with their teammates, rituals they do before the game and before they walk on the floor. The fans like it. The fans enjoy it. You see the fans mimicking the guys who do their stuff before the game. To cut that down really don't make no sense. Why would you do it? I really don't agree with it, but I don't make the rules.”
What adjustments will Durant make?
“Maybe I've got to go a little quicker,” Durant said. “I've got to make sure I acknowledge all my teammates before I walk out on the floor. That's just how I am. That's how we are as a team, guys do their thing, their handshakes. I do the tying (of) the shoes, the praying. I've just got to speed it up.”
Shortly before the opening tip, Thunder assistant Rex Kalamian escorted rookie forward Perry Jones III to midcourt and introduced him to the officiating crew of Ken Mauer, David Guthrie and J.T. Orr.
Is introducing officials to rookies standard practice in the NBA?
“No, that's just class is what that is,” Mauer said.