Three things to know from the Thunder’s fifth practice under Billy Donovan:
1 — Billy Donovan was asked about Russell Westbrook and what he’s seen from him developing from a role player in college to a league superstar. He gave the usual platitudes about his work ethic and such, but this was an interesting point: “It’s amazing, you’re out there on the court with him, and he’s been in the league a while, but the stuff that I’m throwing out to him on offense — he knows his position and he knows the four other positions. I think that speaks volumes to just how cerebral a guy he is out there on the court and how much he sees. As a coach, that’s great because I can get a lot of feedback from him.”
That’s one thing you don’t often see attached to Westbrook, because of all the yelling and screaming and snarling and such. But he is a very smart guy.
2 — The main theme from the two players we heard from today — D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow — was how “organized” and “efficient” the coaching staff is with the available time right now. “It’s different, it’s very different, but it’s very effective,” Morrow said. “It’s efficient on both ends, to come in with guys that are focused on getting better every day and a coaching staff that’s as precise as they, I think it’s really good for us.”
Morrow said essentially everything is broken down meticulously from the weight room, to time with trainers, to coaches, to players, “everybody is on one cord, everybody trusts everybody.” Clearly, Donovan is working to not just install a new offensive and defensive approach, but also remodel how the team functions in a day-to-day aspect.
Morrow was also asked about his impressions of what Donovan is doing so far. “Offensively, I think we have a lot of space,” he said.
3 — Billy Donovan was asked what he’s looking for in a starting 2-guard and he might’ve, possibly, maybe showed his hand a bit. “The one thing for us, the defensive identity, trying to create some of that. There’s going to be some things that are new and different, trying to create a defensive identity. I think the versatility and flexibility of the roster helps, when you have a lot of different people that could slide over to a 2-guard spot.”
So… I guess that means something? Andre Roberson by category is the “defensive” guy, so it would seem that things are trending his way. And there’s also the fact that yesterday Russell Westbrook was asked about Roberson guarding him, and he said he didn’t really know about that because Roberson is always on his team. HMMMMM.