The OKC Thunder final scrimmage featured the Blazers with Billy Donovan, Darius Bazley, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander speaking after the win.
The last of the three scrimmages is complete as the OKC Thunder swept the three-game preparation series. As one of only two teams to win all three scrimmages Billy Donovan got effort each and every time out. More importantly, the bench boss got to see his youngsters deliver when it matters.
Although the reserves haven’t always feasted aside from Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel these games served up some pleasant surprises. With the eight seeding games about to commence the timing of the young players raising their level of performance will give the bench boss confidence, he can use them more in these upcoming games.
OKC Thunder post-Blazers scrimmage media session
Two of his young stars had career scoring nights. As for Hamido Diallo, the coach said he’s tried to encourage him to be more aggressive and use his athleticism more. Donovan noted his developed shooting but feels when he does consistently remain aggressive he impacts the game.
As for the coach’s thoughts on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander running the point he was never concerned. The Canadian is a dedicated worker who rises to every challenge. Donovan noted his playing time increase and role change this year citing his improvements in spite of those changes.
He also noted Shai’s intelligence and how the sophomore tends to set his mind on a goal and then accomplish it — noting that’s what the great one’s do.
‘I think he’s gonna keep getting better because of who he is as a worker and person. The jump he’s made from his rookie year to this year is remarkable. He’s incredibly intelligent, he’s smart and he wants to be great. That’s what the great ones do. They keep getting better.’
As for Andre Roberson the coach was asked if he can commit to using him moving forward with dedicated minutes. Each time he’s been asked this question he never provides specific minutes but adamantly states how Roberson is an important part of the puzzle.
That’s about as definitive as it gets and even more than the youngsters ARob is garnering this praise. That said, the coach is also quick to note that Dre still can improve on conditioning (and that Dre knows that). With those eight seeding games on tap, Andre should be able to grow with each session he gets on the court.
The beauty of Roberson is he’s so intelligent even where he’s at now the team will benefit from his presence.