The Thunder have only been back in camp for a few days and it’s already obvious that they’re ready to throw the ball up for real as Scott Brooks said Friday after practice that things got a bit “chippy” in the team’s scrimmage.
“I just like the spirit of our guys,” Brooks said. “They’ve always been a group that works, a group that challenges each other. It gets chippy. There’s no question today was probably our most chippy, if that’s even the way to say it. We scrimmaged a lot so guys really got after it.”
Brooks said today’s practice was almost entirely scrimmaging, which led to some very intense work on the floor. Of note in the chippyness department?
“I thought Kevin, Kevin showed, and Russell, they showed great leadership,” Brooks said. “They wanted to win and they didn’t win early on. But they came back and I thought they did a good job of competing and fighting through it.”
Said James Harden: “We love it. We love it. That’s how we get better. We talk smack to each other, we grab, hold, fight, that’s what makes us great. Young guys that want to compete and get better every single day. So, it’s been a great day of practice.”
The Thunder’s first preseason game is still five days away (Oct. 10 against the Rockets), so a bunch more practices to go. Let’s hope everyone survives.
On passing: “I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. The willingness to pass. The decisions to make the correct pass. And the ability to understand where the next pass and also the receiver. In the past we had some spacing issues, but I thought last season that picked up. I thought some of our turnovers were based off of guys trying to make the right pass, but just didn’t quite execute it the right way. I hope to see another step, or jump, in that direction.”
On if anything’s surprised him so far: “No, I mean the conditioning, I knew we’d be in good shape. Nothing really has surprised me. Although I would say the new players that we have, the seven new players, have picked up things pretty quick.”
On being the team’s backup point guard: “I just to try fit in where I can. They run the team and I just play off them … I’m a shooting guard, I’m a shooting guard who can make plays and score the ball as well.”
On getting reps with the first team: “I’ve been on the second team. Second team. Can’t do it, it’s my guys. Me and Nick Collison, me and Nick Collison, that’s my guy. We’ve just got guys to fill in on the first unit and the second unit has stayed the same.”