The Big Picture
It was a night of firsts for the 2021-22 Thunder roster – the first time playing in front of fans in 19 months and the first taste of action against a live opponent this season. With that opportunity, the Thunder tested out various lineups, player combinations and gave extended looks to several members of its young roster. As to be expected, the first preseason game of training camp came with its fair share of mistakes and miscues, but most importantly offered valuable lessons and touchpoints that can be carried over into Training Camp all next week.
Moments from the 48
Fans in the Building
The crowd lit up with each announcement of the Thunder starting five and clapped with every bang of Rumble’s drum. Having fans back in the building was a welcomed sight for the coaching staff and players. Even those, like Josh Giddey, who experienced it for the first time enjoyed the first glimpse at a live Thunder crowd.
"It was great. I've heard a lot of good things about the Thunder fans,” said Giddey. “Obviously last year due to COVID they weren't able to be here. It's good for them to be back in the stands just like it's good for us to be back on the floor playing.”
Pace of Play
The Thunder showcased the arsenal of position-less, versatile players on its roster such as Aleksej Pokuševski, Isaiah Roby and Josh Giddey. Regardless of who secured the defensive rebound, each player had the ability and green light to push the ball up the floor and initiate the break which led to a up-tempo, fast pace of play for the Thunder.
Giddey in the Game
With his first minutes of NBA experience, Josh Giddey demonstrated his unique skillset at the guard position with is 6-foot-8 frame and innate passing ability. In his 29 minutes of game action, the 18-year-old rookie scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.
Burst from Wiggins
Rookie two-way forward Aaron Wiggins also recorded double digits in his NBA debut with 12 points in seven minutes. The former Maryland Terrapin went 4-for-5 from the field including a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
The Last Word
“That’s the beauty of these games. If we had another practice today, it probably would have been more of the same and now we have the experience of being out there and figuring out where we have some carryover which I think we did tonight. I thought there were a lot of good things that carried over and then there were things that were sloppy or that we didn’t carry over or didn’t do consistently enough. We point those out and we get to work. This is where the day-to-day process of improving starts.”
The Thunder will have a full seven days before its next preseason exhibition. The team will fly out to Milwaukee for its first and only road matchup of training camp on Sunday, Oct. 10 which will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.