Practice Like A Song For Thunder


By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

Just as luck would have it in a year when the Thunder have new players about to launch into critical roles time in training camp is short, preseason games are fewer.

The Thunder might as well be learning the lyrics to one of those catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes from the great musical "The King And I."

"Getting to know you...getting to know all about you...Getting to like you...Getting to hope you like me."

But instead of Julie Andrews or Deborah Kerr it's Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George trying to find perfect harmony.

And with a full week of practice before the Thunder opens the regular season against the New York Knicks the new teammates will try to get to know each other better than ever before.

"I think what makes it fun is you have to appreciate it, the challenge that's in front of us," Anthony said. "Getting to know one another out there on the court, getting to know ( you can hear the music can't you) people's spots, what they like to do, what they don't like to do and it's different playing against these guys than actually being on their team."

When you play against them, like all three of the Thunder's new Big 3 have done, you're trying to figure out the best ways to stop them and disrupt their flow, make them uncomfortable.

But as Anthony points out, now collectively, they're trying to do just the opposite.

"It's like family," he said. "You gotta know what your brothers want, what your family wants. What they like, what don't like and we have to make adjustments."

And just like with family, at some point there's sure to be some sort of disagreement, "I mean when there's family problems you bring the family to the table and you talk about and you discuss it," Anthony said and then chuckled.

"Hopefully we don't have those kinda family problems but it is a long season and we know there's gonna be ups and down and trial and error but I think we're prepared for that. We know what to expect from each other so I think that makes it easier for us."

To help things along Thunder head coach Billy Donovan will get the guys as much up and down work as possible during this next week of practice.

"It's eight days so you gotta make sure we're playing enough that we're fresh enough, execution, situational work so we did a lot of movement and running and going over concepts on offense and defense."

The coach expects to get his players quite a bit more scrimmage work Friday and Saturday and then add a few tweaks to the offense and defense next week.

Donovan wouldn't talk about the possibility if he also might be able to add injured players Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson back into the mix in time to be about to play against the Knicks.

"It's hard for me to speculate where those guys might be a week from now, where Patrick would be or where Raymond would be (health-wise) I just go day-by-day and the reports I get are that both those guys are progressing and getting better."

It's not clear if they've been watching "The King And I" back in the trainers room.


Randy RennerComment