It hasn’t been the season that many expected for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who made drastic improvements to their roster during the offseason.
The Thunder have been hovering at or below .500 for stretches of this season and their latest loss has the team’s frustrations at a boiling point.
“For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be,” Thunder forward Paul George said.
“But we’re going to remain optimistic, though, about the future and what we can do. Once we can find a way to really do it night in and night out, it’s no panic mode, but we have to start playing better. It’s getting to a point where we can’t allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we’re going to figure it out, we can say all that. But at some point it’s gotta stop.”
The Thunder again saw a game get out of hand, this time against the Charlotte Hornets in a loss on Monday night.
“As crazy as this may sound, I was really, really, really excited with the way we played offense tonight. I really was,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.
“I thought we generated really good shots tonight. It wasn’t a great shooting night for us, but I think the guys’ intentions of trying to do the things we’ve asked them to do — in terms of ball movement — I thought they really stayed with it for 48 minutes. I was really encouraged by that part of it.”
“It’s up to us, honestly,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said about the team turning things around for the better.
“Just gotta figure it out and play the same way every night.”
“We’re not getting off to a great start and it’s just playing its way all the way through to when we get late in games, and for whatever reason we try to turn it on,” George said. “It just seems we’re a completely different team that last four or five minutes, and that’s the way we’ve got to battle for 48 minutes.”
“I think sometimes people look at players, or look at a team, and they kind of say what they’re forecasting for it not even knowing all the dynamics it takes to even be a good team,” Donovan said.
“And I think when you’ve got half the roster that’s different, these guys have done a really good job sacrificing, they’ve done a really good job building relationships and communicating, they’ve done a really good job working, and they’re trying to get to know each other on the court.”
“Everybody’s giving up something of themselves for the benefit of the team, and I think at some point that will pay dividends for us,” Donovan said.
Thunder’s Paul George Asked Billy Donovan to Stop Running Plays for Him
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George reportedly asked head coach Billy Donovan to stop running plays for him at one point last season.
George made the comments during an interview with ESPN’s Royce Young:
“I’ve always been a guy to just let the game come to me,” George said.
“Just play the game. If it’s a shot for me, if I can make a play, create for someone else, I’ll do that. A lot of times you run a play, everybody’s watching, everybody’s locked in, everybody’s pulling over and it just makes the game tougher for me
“I like it when I can kind of manipulate and be on attack mode where they don’t know what to do, as opposed to a play other teams [can] scout.”
Donovan added in:
“At times he’s like, ‘Stop—just let me get it,'” Donovan said. “I had to learn him. I can watch things on film and say, ‘Oh, that’s a good play and he made that shot, let’s run that,’ but there’s a lot more to it than that.”
Thunder Exercise Option on Terrance Ferguson
The Oklahoma City Thunder have exercised the third-year option on the contract of Terrance Ferguson.
Ferguson is a former 1st round pick of Oklahoma City back in the 2017 NBA draft, and with increased playing time this season, he is averaging 2.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.6 steals per game for the Thunder.
Thunder announces it has exercised the third-year option on Terrance Ferguson for 2019-20.
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) October 29, 2018
Thunder’s Paul George Talks About Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George had an interesting take on his MVP teammate, point guard Russell Westbrook, saying that the point guard is a bit of an “a**hole” but saying that it is fine to be one.
“You’ve got guys in the league that have that — I would say ‘a–hole’ in them that people think Russ has,” George said, according to Royce Young of ESPN. “And that’s fine. That’s fine to be an a–hole. You should be an a–hole at some point.”
In case you think that by George labeling Westbrook in such a derogatory way is a slight, George explained that it was a good thing.
“The difference is, you’ve got guys that are a–holes that don’t care to be your teammate. Russ is going to be there, regardless if he’s getting on you, if he’s chewing you out,” George explained. “If it’s something he feels he needs to address with you, he’s going to do it. But he’s going to be your teammate at the end of the day. He’s going to have your back, he’s going to stand his ground and he’s going to go to war with you. After, he’s going to laugh, he’s going to joke — that’s Russ. He’s a different type of teammate.”
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