Another Oklahoma City Media Day has come and gone. While there are many things we can take away from things said by players and coaches, some are more significant than others. Thunder training camp begins tomorrow at 11:00 AM CST prior to their first preseason game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 8. This will be our first look at the eight new faces on Oklahoma City’s new look roster.
After attending today’s player interviews at Media Day, there were three things that stood out to me initially as relevant to some questions we had going into the day and about the upcoming season.
1. Andre Roberson seems ready to go
Andre Roberson hasn’t touched played in an NBA game in over 600 days. Ever since his grusome leg injury in January of the 2018-19 season, he has been rehabbing, working to overcome several setbacks along the way. Prior to this injury, Roberson was one of the premier wing defenders in the entire NBA.
Even in the unclear direction the Thunder franchise is going, having a guy like Roberson on the court showing the young players on the team what it takes to lock up some of the best offensive players in the NBA will be crucial in their development.
When being asked at Media Day how he is feeling and where he is at as far as his health, Roberson gave the answer Oklahoma City fans had been waiting to hear for over a year. “It’s training camp, so at this point I’m in full go”. Roberson will certainly have some rust to shake off, but it appears he is ready to come back and compete in the NBA Preseason and work towards earning his starting spot back.
2. We could see three point guards on the floor at one time
One of the biggest storylines for the Thunder heading into the 2019-20 season is the logjam of starting caliber point guards. Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all have plenty of experience starting at point guard on an NBA roster. While the narrative all offseason was negative towards having too many point guards on the team, it appears Oklahoma City views the situation in a different light.
When Head Coach Billy Donovan was asked about the three of these guards at Media Day, he mentioned there could certainly be times in which Paul, Schroder, and Gilgeous-Alexander will share the floor at the same time. Although slightly unorthodox, in the modern NBA, this could potentially work out.
Dennis Schroder was asked a similar question in regards to the three of them and the potential of all playing on the floor together. “We’ve got three point guards now that can create,” said Schroder. “The ball movement is going to be a lot this year. Everybody can get the ball, run out and create for one another.” While this could result in a lapse in defensive efficiency, could the Thunder be onto something? This will result in the Thunder playing a very fast style of play with plenty of playmakers on the court.
3. Steven Adams does not plan to extend his range and shoot 3-pointers this season
Another mystery heading into the 2019-20 season is what type of player Steven Adams will be without Russell Westbrook on the roster since he will be presumably given a much larger role. Although this is isn’t necessarily expected of him, some of us have always wondered if Steven Adams would ever join other centers around the league in stepping out and shooting 3-pointers. While this is very different from true game shooting, there have been several videos in recent years that have surfaced of Adams in practice shooting from deep with some consistency.
During Adams’ media availability today, I asked if this could be the season we see him step out and space the floor, shooting from beyond the arc. “We gotta keep focused on what the gameplay is, if thats the thing, then yeah. I’m not just gonna come out and say like maybe now is a good time to jack up a couple of 3’s. It’s gotta be calculated, you know?”
While this is the answer I expected to get, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point Adams gets somewhat of a green light to attempt wide-open 3-pointers to get a feel for what that might look like. However, for now, it seems like this possibility has not been discussed internally. In today’s NBA, having a big man who can at least keep the defense honest and stretch the floor is extremely valuable.