By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Victor Oladipo can’t wait to get the season started.
“I’m very excited...I’m anxious; everything you can imagine that’s what I am,” he told reporters after Thunder practice Friday afternoon. “I’m just lookin’ forward to the new start, a fresh new look and everything, it’s gonna be fun.”
So far it hasn’t been quite as much fun as Oladipo would have liked.
He doesn’t want to make mistakes, doesn’t want to leave anyone with a bad impression, doesn’t want to appear to be too aggressive, too much of a ball hog, too much of anything.
So sometimes the one thing he ends up doing too much of is thinking.
“Sometimes?” he smiled when asked about that.
“Yeah, a little too much. I’m a deep thinker so I go into things a little too much, especially during the course of a game so I gotta just keep goin’ and playin’.”
Both Russell Westbrook and Billy Donovan have encouraged Oladipo to just play his game and don’t over think it.
“It’s something I’m trying to get better at and yeah Coach Donovan has been helping me with that, along with Russ, so I just gotta keep getting better at it.”
Abrines Still Limited By Bruised Hip
After being taken out of the Nuggets game with a bruised hip shooting guard Alex Abrines, though able to do a few shooting drills, has not returned to full practices.
“He’s moving around, he’s shooting, he’s doing individual skill work,” Donovan said, “but he hasn’t been cleared for any contact so again we’re not rushing him back too soon.”
Abrines does appear to be getting better, “he’s still out of practice but able to do more than he had the last couple days,” Donovan said.
The Thunder hope to have him back for the season opener Wednesday at Philadelphia.
Donovan “Comfortable” With Ronnie Price As Westbrook’s Backup
With normal backup point guard Cameron Payne still several weeks away from returning to action after breaking a bone in his right foot the job has passed to veteran Ronnie Price.
Some fans after seeing the performance of Semaj Christon, who will likely be the OKC Blue’s starting point guard, are wondering about Christon replacing Price on the roster.
That could be difficult to make happen with certain contract situations and roster limitations but Donovan didn’t sound like he had any problems with Price staying right where he is.
“I feel comfortable with him,” Donovan said. “You know Ronnie is a very, very smart guy, he’s played in a lot of different systems for a lot of different teams and he’s a tough on ball defender, he’s physical and he’s a guy that can make open shots.”
The biggest problem with Price is finding familiarity with new teammates.
“It always takes time to get used to a new system, used to new teammates and where guys like to get the basketball on the floor,” Price pointed out.
“So it’s always an adjustment but it’s something training camp and practices are used for.”
And it’s something a lot of guys on this new look Thunder team are going through right now so Price is far from alone.
No Saturday Practice
The training camp practice pace is slowing now with the regular season opener less than a week away. The Thunder took Wednesday off, had long practice sessions Thursday and Friday and will have another off day Saturday.
When the team returns to work Sunday, some guys could be missing. NBA rosters have to be down to 15 players by 4 o’clock (Oklahoma time) Monday afternoon and as of this writing OKC has 19 on the roster.
The team will fly to Philadelphia after Tuesday’s practice for Wednesday night’s season opener against the 76ers. The home opener is Friday night against Phoenix.