Thunder Brings Plenty of Energy to Wednesday Practice

Tuesday was much more than a regular practice day for the Thunder. In addition to the regular work on their game in morning, Thunder players then spent much of the afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the team’s annual media day. That evening it was off to a northwest Oklahoma City Target store to participate in a shopping spree for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

Despite the long day, Wednesday morning saw players report back to the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center ready to get to work.

It was something Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks did not overlook. “Before we started practice, that’s one of the things that I met with our guys about. I thanked them for all of the effort they gave us yesterday. Our guys really spent the day out on their feet and in the community, but hey, that’s what they do. They’re a great group of guys that believe in getting out and being leaders in the community.”

As for Wednesday’s practice session, Brooks said it went very well as the team shifted its focus a little bit.

“This was the first day we worked on a half-court offense with defense live. We didn’t break out in transition. We just wanted to focus on scoring in the half-court area with half-court sets.”

Brooks and his coaches also paid close attention to an aspect of the game that has been stressed so far in camp: “a physical defense on the players and I thought today’s practice was good.”

It was the first time on the court in a Thunder uniform for newly acquired forward Lazar Hayward. The Thunder brought him to Oklahoma City in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for guard Robert Vaden and two conditional second-round draft picks.

“They players did a good job of helping me adjust,” Hayward said. “They were making sure I was following stuff. I’m glad to be in town. I was very excited about the trade and I’m just happy that I’m here.”

Brooks said he has mostly been happy with the way training camp has progressed so far. He will give players the day off Thursday before bringing them back in on Friday.

“As I’ve said before, our guys came into camp in great shape and ready to work hard and they’ve done that,” he said.

Just as has been the case each season for the Thunder, players have been coming in early, sometimes two hours or more before practice starts, to work on elements of their game and they stay late, sometimes an hour or two after the formal practice.

“Our guys love to work,” Brooks said, “and so do our staff and coaches. It’s been a good camp so far. Tomorrow will be a well-deserved day off.”