Preseason: OKC vs. CHA - Oct. 4
The first week of Training Camp is officially in the books and the Thunder now looks ahead to putting that work to the test in its first preseason matchup against a live opponent. In its first of four exhibitions, the Thunder will take on the Charlotte Hornets inside Paycom Center.
What to Watch
Shai Stepping Up
After signing his extension with the Thunder this offseason, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is ready to get back to work with his team. The fourth-year guard is fully healthy, put on some extra muscle and has taken his leadership role seriously both on the court and in the locker room.
Looks at Lineups
Expect the Thunder coaching staff to test out various lineups throughout the game. Whether with multiple guards or a larger lineup, Monday’s game will allow the Thunder to get extended looks at multiple combinations of players on the floor.
For the first week of training camp, the Thunder tapped into its history by hosting its practices inside of the Thunder Blue ION – the original practice facility of the Thunder from 2008 through 2011. The high-energy two-a-day practices were filled with scrappy scrimmages and valuable film sessions while also building chemistry on the floor.
For the first time in 19 months, the Thunder will be playing in front of its home crowd inside of Paycom Center. Several roster members including second year players Théo Maledon and Aleksej Pokuševski have yet to experience the roar of Loud City but look forward to seeing it for themselves.
“I’ve heard from everyone talking about this arena” said Maledon. “We’re really excited to get to test it and feel the energy.”
Darius Bazley on the energy of Training Camp
"It's been really high energy. A lot of competitiveness. Guys are just as excited as I am to be out playing, especially the new guys, rookies, guys we have coming in. Even the returning guys. Everyone's just super excited to get going. We're a young team so there's gonna be a lot of energy."
Mark Daigneault on the goal of preseason games
“We’re treating the games just like we treat practice. We’re trying to learn as much as we can, try and improve through every touchpoint and that’s what we’ll do with the games.”
The Hornets tout a strong returning core of players led by their leading scorer from last season in Terry Rozier who averaged 20.4 points. Bolstering the backcourt is the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year in LaMelo Ball who posted 15.7 points per game last season. This offseason, Charlotte selected guard James Bouknight and forward Kai Jones in the first round of the NBA Draft who are both expected to see time on the floor for the Hornets in their preseason opener.