The OKC Thunder will assemble this week in LA for their annual summer training session, the difference– this time Paul George will be in attendance.
Paul George certainly isn’t immune to hard work. Every summer George has worked to improve and expand his game. He’s come back from the horrific leg fracture of 2014 which would have ended many players careers. The fact he’s back on track showcasing marked improvements speaks to his work ethic and talent.
Sporting a different uniform on a new team, George looks to write his next chapter. For George this season can’t help but feel strange since he’s spent each of his 7 years as a pro with one franchise. And, with all due respect to George Hill, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert ,George has never had a player of Russell Westbrook’s ilk to share the NBA court with.
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Fresh start for Paul George:
Despite both super stars playing internationally, the two have never played in the same Olympic or World Cup years. The pair shared the same court in All-Star Games, but always as opponents. So, the priority for George and Westbrook will be to develop chemistry and figure out a rhythm with one another. Although Westbrook is tasked as the main ball handler, it is George who’ll need to acclimate the most. This will be an entirely new system for the small forward with all new teammates.
Like George, new teammates Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton will also experience the learning curve. On top of all this, these players don’t know each other off the court either. Other than pre-game greetings or in game competition talk, it’s likely not one Thunder player has spoken to George before.
So, this week represents opportunity. An opportunity to bond on and off the court. It’s often said the teams who excel have a chemistry which extends into the locker rooms. So, this week offers a wonderful chance to begin forming that bond.
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Many of George’s new teammates are eager for this season’s meeting. In most cases it will be the Thunder players first opportunity to spend time with their new teammates.
Stache Brothers excited to meet George:
Steven Adams discussed the upcoming meeting in his own inimitable way. The center was in Manila on an NBA promotional visit. Asked by Manila reporters about the Paul George addition he told them he would be joining him in LA shortly and offered the following:
“I haven’t met the guy but I’m excited to meet him. I’m more excited just to be going back and being with the Thunder – just working out every day, with the family vibe,” Adams said.
As per Marc Hinton of Stuff:
Adams is excited by what George can add to the Thunder’s mix of talent, with pundits predicting the combustible one-two punch of the athletic George with the explosive Russell Westbrook could elevate OKC into one of the Western Conference’s elite teams for 2017-18.
“He is obviously going to help us,” added Adams. “He is going to be a good guy. If you are a good guy then everything else is easy.”
Fellow Stache Brother Enes Kanter is also looking forward to joining his teammates in LA. As per Erik Horne of News OK
Through the phone Tuesday, you could hear Kanter’s excitement about rejoining his Thunder teammates. He’s been limited to U.S. travel and charity work since his passport was canceled, but he’ll fly to L.A. on Sunday. In what’s become a summer tradition, Thunder players plan to link up Monday in L.A. for voluntary workouts.
Chemistry Class begins in LA:
These annual sessions have become a staple of the OKC Thunder offseason. Yet, this year they are even more crucial. Establishing relationships is vital to the squad. For Paul George it affords him an opportunity to ease into a new system. Ditto for Patterson and Felton. As for Westbrook and the returning roster they’ll be keen to develop a bond. This isn’t just about helping new teammates learn a new system. Rather their goal will be getting off to a quick start amid the loaded West. Moreover, the players will want Paul George as comfortable as possible in their efforts to keep him in OKC beyond this season.
Suffice to say, for Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder this week is about going back to school with one subject on the docket — Chemistry Class. Let’s hope they all score A pluses.