Quotes of the Day: Eyes Toward the Regular Season
Three exhibition matchups and over two weeks of training camp are in the books for the Thunder. The squad, along with head coach Mark Daigneault now have their eyes set on the fast-approaching regular season and the chance to carry over the sustainable principles and foundations established and tested during training camp.
Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Coach Daigneault sat down after practice on Sunday to discuss their takeaways from the preseason and the group’s mentality as it prepares for its regular season-opener against Houston on December 23.
Camp Talk: Team Chemistry and Expectations
On the team’s biggest improvement during preseason…
I would say that the chemistry, starting where it was with some guys out and then obviously a lot of new people, is pretty far along for what I would have expected from the beginning of this. It’s just a credit to the environment that exists here to begin with and also the quality of the people that our players are. They've all come here in a great, great spot and invested in the environment and invested in each other and really want to try to make it work every day. When we've had things we've fallen short in, they want to improve. When we had things that we've done well, they've stayed humble. That's probably been the most encouraging thing and that's the stuff that sustains you over the course of a long season, so I give the team a lot of credit for that.
On lineups and rotations moving forward…
One of the things that we want to make sure we do is not settle on anything this early. With this many new faces and with this many players that are in kind of developmental stages their career, things change so rapidly in terms of what you learn about people that you haven't been around every day and in terms of the growth curve of some of the players. Whatever we roll out against Houston is probably not going to be finalized. I don't think it would be smart for us to go in there and kind of settle on anything rotationally. I think we have to just let it evolve and look at some different things look at some different combinations of different players. We have a group that I think is going to be open to that. They've been incredibly coachable to this point and that's something that we're going to be able to explore.
On his biggest takeaways from the preseason…
As long as we compete and play hard on both ends of the floor, we'll be alright no matter who we play. When we do the little things dive on loose balls, make the extra pass, run to the corner as opposed to running to the bend – of all the little stuff. It’ll help us in the long run to be who we want to be an to be the best we can be.
On playing with bigs who can space the floor and knock down 3’s…
It simplifies the game. A lot of NBA teams play in a drop coverage and their bigs are back, trying to prevent penetration from the guard. But when the bigs have to worry about our big shooting it, it only makes it harder for them to guard and get close outs and we get to put them in rotation and things like that. It just makes the game easy for myself and for us together.