Thunder 'Gets After It' on Day 1 of Training Camp
It started slowly, all of these pairs of hands coming together at different times. With each clap, the volume and repetition of the claps increased as the Thunder players, coaches and basketball support staff walked to the center of the court for a post-practice huddle inside the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center.
"Thunder on three ... one, two three THUNDER!"
And with that, Day 1 of the Thunder Training Camp came to a close.
"It feels real good to be back on the floor," said guard Russell Westbrook. "It was great to see everybody again, giving 110 percent."
"I thought they (the players) did a great job coming back. They're all in good shape," Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said, referring to the overall physical conditioning level of the team. "It says a lot about the character of our players. Six months away from us, it seems like it was just yesterday. ... I think the guys are really committed to improving, to getting better.
"We went hard. We did not go as long as we normally would have gone in a season with a longer training camp, but we wanted to push them. I felt we could, just seeing our guys come back (in the condition they were in). Today's practice was very intense; guys really challenged each other and I thought it was all good."
Twelve of the 15 players in Thunder Training Camp were on the team a year ago when it advanced to the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder invited three players to participate in camp -- Marcus Dove, Anthony Goods and Terrence Roberts. "I thought they all picked up things quickly and that's not easy," Brooks said.
The Thunder has nine days to prepare for its first preseason game Dec. 18 in Dallas. Brooks said Training Camp will consist of some two-a-day practices and that he will give the players one day off, though he has not yet set that date.
In the meantime, Brooks and his staff will continue to press for development on the defensive end of the court -- "We want to defend the basketball much better and defend the paint better," he said -- as well as the offensive end.
"We're a very good scoring team, but we can improve how we score," he said. "Since we've been together, does that help us? I think so, because we know what we want to do. But what helps us is we're a good team. We have some good players that are committed to each other. I really appreciate their efforts in coming back in good shape."
Added Kevin Durant: "Everybody played hard, we got after it. It feels good, feels like we didn't miss a beat. ... I'm looking forward to Day 2."
- Brooks on camp invitee Marcus Dove, former Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year while at Oklahoma State: "We had him a few years back and he did a good job for us. He's a hustler, he's scrappy. He plays hard and he competes, that's the reason we brought him into camp. He's in a tough situation, but you never know. You have to put yourself in a position to earn the job with great effort and he had that today."
- Durant on the fact he now weighs 235 pounds (he was 215 pounds as a rookie): "I'm still skinny, but I feel a little bigger. That's the biggest thing with me."