"Work In Progress" Theme Continues For Thunder
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
No one thought, well a few people probably did, that the two All-Stars the Thunder added in the off-season would automatically fit in flawlessly with the other new guys and with the guys who wore OKC uniforms last season.
A 1-2 start shows there is plenty of work to do but all involved say that work is progressing and players and coaches are becoming more comfortable working together but the process will continue all season.
"I think that's like a never ending process," head coach Billy Donovan said after Tuesday's practice.
Personally there aren't any "chemistry" issues but "I think the other part of it is those guys playing together and playing with one another and figuring out how to utilize one another."
And figuring where passes will be coming from on the court and where teammates are likely to be in certain situations.
"I'm still trying to get used to playing with the guys, finding my spots, not playing with the ball as much as I did in the past which is pretty good from my standpoint," said Carmelo Anthony.
Melo is free now from the burden of having to carry a team.
"I think the game has been a little bit easier for myself. I have an opportunity to play off the ball and let the ball find me and kinda be a threat in other ways."
"The more of these games that come around the more I see how teams are gonna play us and the more opportunities I see that are opening up," Paul George told reporters. And then, almost as if he overheard his All-Star teammate, PG13 said almost the same as thing as Anthony acknowledging, "The game is different for me now," and admitting "in an easier way."
Melo now hears something on this team he's not been accustomed to hearing over the years in New York or Denver, being yelled at for passing up a shot.
It's something Russell Westbrook does every time he sees Anthony turn down an open look and Melo loves hearing about it.
"That's the luxury of having a guy like that, who loves to set people up and wants to put you in a position where you can be successful with the ball and score the ball. For me, I actually thrive off of that."
Everyone involved knew it would be like this. Some early growing pains followed, hopefully, buy great success.
"All of that's gonna come," Anthony promised.
Rookie guard Terrance Ferguson didn't do a lot in Tuesday's practice as he recovers from a left ankle sprain suffered during Sunday night's warmups at The Peake.
"Yeah, we'll probably know more tomorrow but he was limited today in practice," Donovan said.
The injury is not believed to be significant, described in fact Sunday night as "minor."