OKC Thunder post practice: ‘This is not Syria mate, we’re living in a bloody resort’

The OKC Thunder post-practice virtual presser on Monday featured Billy Donovan, Abdel Nader, and birthday boy Steven Adams.

The OKC Thunder began the week with another practice session. The team has its eyes set on the scrimmages which will start on Wednesday and Friday for OKC.

This isn’t a typical situation by any stretch of the imagination. Even practice sessions for a normal season start wouldn’t last this long so it’s not surprising the players are anxious to face alternative competition.

Good news came in the form of the league advising no one has tested positive in the second week of bubble life and the Rockets later advised Russell Westbrook is expected to arrive in the next day or two.

Monday offered up another virtual media session after the practice with the coach once again leading things off.

The players who spoke today were Abdel Nader and birthday boy Steven Adams. Nader offered up arguably the most optimistic quote so far on Andre Roberson while Adams had in this scribe’s opinion the best quote so far in the Disney bubble.

Post-practice media takeaways:

Billy Donovan:

The coach served up responses about individuals on Monday noting firstly how so many of the young guys came back improved. On Shai Gilgeous-Alexander specifically (which each of the trio talked about today) Donovan said he used the hiatus to get stronger.

Regarding Dennis Schroder, the coach noted he should be right in the mix of players vying to win Sixth Man of the Year. Donovan credited Schroder for his competitiveness and how much he sacrifices for his team.

On Terrance Ferguson, the coach cited his growth and how hard he’s worked with his expectation being TFerg’s 3-point shot will improve and be more consistent. That’s great news especially if Ferguson actually shoots them more often (sorry, a little shade there – but c’mon TFerg let’s get more aggressive offensively).

The other key takeaways from Donovan’s comments were his coaching staff has yet to sit down as a group in person, still conducting their meetings via Zoom calls. He also confirmed how hungry the players are to face an opponent.

Abdel Nader:

In his time with the media, Abdel Nader offered up two important player notes. The first regarding Gilgeous-Alexander. First Nader noted how SGA is learning from two of the best point guards in the NBA but spoke of Shai’s game stating ‘He’s crazy talented, he’s really crafty.’.

However, the quote that stood out from Nader was in reference to Andre Roberson and his offense… ‘He’s shooting the ball better than he’s ever shot.

The reality is ARob only had one direction to go offensive (UP) but for Nader who is a quality shooter to speak about his improvement sure makes us giddy about Roberson’s return to the hardwood.

Steven Adams:

As for the man of the moment, chess master Steven Adams can’t help himself – – he simply provides the best sound bites, even when he’s not trying to. Leave it to the Big Kiwi to put the Disney bubble in perspective:

This is not Syria, mate. It’s not that hard. It’s not that difficult. We’re living in a bloody resort.

Like his coach and Nader, Adams also had praise for SGA noting how talented Gilgeous-Alexander stating ‘He’s an amazing talent. Thumbs up from me all around, mate.’

Adams also made sure to say Shai is well aware of how good he is too. This no doubt, a gentle bit of teasing from the big man as SGA has demonstrated he loves to trash talk although it’s typically saved for his partner in crime Chris Paul.

In terms of his birthday plans, the big man noted he might play some chess, get in a good meal and go to the pool.

And adding levity to the media session when asked if he plans on shooting more 3-pointers he responded ‘No, is the short answer’.  When this response was followed by silence, he laughed and stated ‘I’m just being direct, mate.’ which again drew more laughter.

Tuesday will mark the 14th day the Thunder has been in Orlando at the Disney bubble and 12th day out of quarantine.