Carmelo Anthony backed down Raymond Felton into the paint with two hard dribbles, spun, and splashed a short fadeaway jumper. Paul George gave Daniel Hamilton no breathing room on a drive baseline, and deflected a floater attempt. Jerami Grant knocked down a jumper right in Anthony’s grill.
Soon, the crowd around the Thunder players started to swell. As the Thunder’s competitors got after it in a little post-practice one-on-one, point guard Russell Westbrook soaked it all in.
“They were hoopin’. They were doing their thing,” Westbrook smirked.
“A lot of those guys are good one on one players, so it’s definitely good bonding and to work on your defense as well,” Westbrook added.
Camp Talk: Russell Westbrook
During the actual practice session, the Thunder got up and down and competed against one another, and continued to work on some special situations on both offense and defense. Afterwards, the guys still had enough energy and passion for the game to keep the competitive juices flowing. It was a wonderful sight to behold as some of the world’s greatest athletes went toe-to-toe to build not only skill, but camaraderie.
“The thing that’s impressive to me when they do that is that these guys like to play,” Donovan said. “We went up and down the floor for a while today and did a lot of five on five and they still want to come over here and play.”
“Instead of being the first guy to get out of here, they get in here well before practice starts and stay well after practice,” Donovan noted.
– Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton both were full participants in the contact portions of practice today. For Patterson that was the first time during the course of U.S. Cellular Training Camp that he had the chance to compete fully. Both players’ statuses for the season opener on Thursday against the Knicks will be determined later in the week.
– There was a new face at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center, as the Thunder signed in undrafted rookie PJ Dozier to the second of their two Two-Way Contracts that allows players to compete in the G League and the NBA. Dozier will have the chance to spend 45 days with the Thunder and the rest of the season with the Oklahoma City Blue. In honor of his late second cousin who played for the Boston Celtics, Reggie Lewis, Dozier will be wearing the number 35 for the Blue and Thunder.
- “(Dozier) is a really talented player,” Donovan said. “He’s long, has a really good feel of how to play, has a really high basketball IQ and can really pass the basketball.
- “What a great organization to be at,” Dozier said. “Everybody here, the whole staff is always willing to help. They have their best foot forward and it’s all about the players. Everybody is going to do everything they can to make this organization a positive one.”
– Westbrook commented on his Why Not? Rally that he and Jordan Brand hosted at the 8th Street Market on Monday night. The aspect of the event that struck a chord with Westbrook was the “Why Not? Wall”, which gave the high school students in attendance the opportunity to write down their personal goals for the upcoming year with the idea that everything they hoped for is possible. Westbrook said he plans to put that wall covering with those goals in his house.
- “For me, that’s an unbelievable blessing and a humbling experience to be able to see all those comments on the wall,” Westbrook said.
Thunder Minute: 10/17