2017 Summer League Recap: Thunder vs. Charlotte Hornets – July 4, 2017

ORLANDO – The Thunder jumped out to a good start, despite resting Josh Huestis, Semaj Christon and Dakari Johnson during this stretch of four games in four straight days. It was the second quarter and beyond where Summer League Coach Mark Daigneault’s squad lost control on the 4th of July against the Charlotte Hornets, falling 95-81.

Thunder drops game 3 at Summer League to Hornets. Next: Wed vs Mavs. #ThunderSummer

A post shared by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on Jul 4, 2017 at 12:20pm PDT

The results on the scoreboard matter less than the actual performances on the floor, so for the Thunder the assessment of the play was about the x’s and o’s. The team played with intensity and toughness, but for these young players learning on the fly it will be the execution, focus and attention to details that can help elevate themselves at Summer League.

“We’ve continued to compete for 40 minutes. That’s first and foremost,” Daigneault said. “We could have executed better on both ends of the floor. We fouled a lot of jump shooters and missed a couple free throw blockouts. It wasn’t our best game but the competitiveness and togetherness of the team has been impressive.”

One of the bright spots from the game was the play of OKC Blue guard Daniel Hamilton, who racked up seven assists in addition to 15 points. Despite having the size of a two-guard and the ability to defend some small forwards, the Blue utilized Hamilton as a point guard in situations last season and like the way he can create offense for himself and others as a ball-handler and playmaker.

“He’s definitely comfortable up there. He’s a really good creator. He gets two on the ball. He has great vision. He’s unselfish,” Daigneault noted. “When you have a player like that, you figure out ways to get the ball in their hands there.”

Watch: Postgame Wrap Up

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OKC’s Own Gets a Chance to Expand His Game

With a few of the guys resting, Daigneault had a chance to give more minutes to some of the other players on the roster. Today, Oklahoma City native Rashawn Thomas had the chance to get out on the floor for 21 minutes, his first as a professional. The former Southeast High School standout went to Texas A&M Corpus Christi before signing with the Thunder for Summer League. Thomas, his family and those in his community in Oklahoma City are thrilled that he has the chance to play for his hometown NBA team.

“This is a dream come true. Any kid dreams of playing for his hometown team,” said Thomas, who was just 13 when the Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City. “I’ve gotten that opportunity and I feel blessed.”

On Tuesday, Thomas was persistent on the court, and extremely active. From diving on the floor for loose balls to securing eight rebounds, the forward managed to make an impact on the game. In the second half, he got on the scoreboard more with a flurry of points – a corner three and then a transition dunk. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-for-12 shooting as he continues to try to stretch his shooting range while still being a physical, tenacious defender and rebounder.

“It’s been great. It’s been a real learning experience with these being my first professional games,” Thomas explained. “I still feel like I have a ways to go to be as effective as I want to be.”

“I’m striving along and making really good steps,” Thomas continued. “I’m starting to get the feel and get comfortable in the rhythm of the games.”

OKC native Rashawn Thomas (Southeast HS) SLAM for #ThunderSummer

A post shared by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:31am PDT

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Up Next:

The Thunder fell to 2-1 on the week, with 15 total points for the week. The Thunder’s next game will be on Wednesday at 12 p.m. CT against the Dallas Mavericks. The results of tomorrow’s game will determine when the Thunder plays on Thursday, Championship Day. Be sure to tune into NBATV and stay here at okcthunder.com for more.

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