After a week of training camp, the Thunder held their Blue and White scrimmage on Sunday in front of kids from a local YMCA.
During these scrimmages, especially for a team like the Thunder, you just want to see who has grasped the offensive sets, who is bringing the intensity, which guys that are fighting for the last few roster spots can bring something, if the team can show what their identity is, and just anyone that stands out more than the others.
For the Thunder, as expected Chris Paul brought the intensity. He never stopped talking. Even while on the bench he was talking to guys on the court or saying they needed to talk to each other. For the most part, it was an intense scrimmage. That would play into how the team should play this year.
During media day, a lot of guys mentioned how much they wanted to get out and run. That showed today. That has a lot to do with Paul. He was constantly yelling go no matter who was bringing the ball up. After every miss, guys got a rebound and immediately ran with it. Even center Steven Adams who grabbed a rebound and led the break a few times. That plays right into what their identity should be. Defense and running.
The defensive intensity was very prevalent during the scrimmage. There were a lot of times that guys just drove by their defender so it needs to be better but it’s good to see guys be committed to playing defense. This also could be due to having Paul as the leader of the team. He’s always been a pesky defender and it seems like his ways are rubbing off on his teammates.
Outside of Chris Paul, there were two guys who really stood out, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley. SGA lead both teams in scoring and shot well. He was pretty much unstoppable off the dribble. One thing he could work on is his passing but he played more like what his role is going to be while playing next to Chris Paul.
Bazley didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but he was all over the floor doing a lot of the little things. Whether it was making the extra pass, stepping over on defense, or being on the offensive glass, he did it. His role might be small to start the season but if he continues to play well, it will definitely grow as the season goes along.
Overall, the the team looked good. There was a really good battle going on at the center position with Adams, Nerlens Noel, Justin Patton, and Mike Muscala so it will be interesting to see which guys not named Steven Adams get the majority of the backup minutes.
The two things the thunder have to correct are free throws and finishing at the rim. There were too many missed free throws and they weren’t just from Adams. There were also too many missed opportunities at the rim. Wouldn’t expect either to be an issue this season.
As long as they stick to their identity, defense and running, they shouldn’t have a problem competing with any team in the west.
Flip the page to see videos from the scrimmage.