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Friday Bolts: 9.28.18

Brett Dawson (The Athletic) on how Patrick Patterson changed his body this summer: “The Thunder forward had spent much of a healthy summer out of town, but back in Oklahoma City, remnants of a previous life lingered, their expiration dates not yet passed. Tony the Tiger stared him down from a box of Frosted Flakes, tucked in a cupboard with Toast Crunch, both Cinnamon and French. The refrigerator offered no respite. That’s where the cheese lived. “I literally threw all of it in the trash can,” Patterson said, “just so I didn’t have to look at it.” He had come too far to turn back. Patterson had an underwhelming first year in Oklahoma City. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last August, missed training camp and — despite shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range — rarely looked fully comfortable. But Carmelo Anthony is gone and the starting power forward spot up is for grabs, and Patterson spent the summer putting himself in the best position to have a strong second season. And his physical change is immediately apparent.”

Erik Horne on why the Thunder is scrimmaging more in this season’s training camp: “The Thunder has had five practices – two each on Tuesday and Wednesday and once on Thursday – in three days of preseason camp. Donovan likes drills for being able to target specific areas, but acknowledged that a set drill can often go out of the window when players get into scrimmage settings because of the speed of the game. “Can you do it when the game’s going on and make quick decisions both offensively and defensively?,” Donovan said. “That’s why we wanted to try to play.” The team scrimmaged for about 45 minutes on Thursday, then had a post-practice yoga session. Donovan said the Thunder’s scrimmage plan is closer to what it was in his first two seasons in Oklahoma City. And while the scrimmages aren’t to specifically work certain groups together, Steven Adams, Paul George and Dennis Schroder have played “quite a bit together.”

PG likes what he sees:

Nick Gallo on the Thunder speeding it up: “So much of the Thunder’s attitude heading into the season and over the first few days of U.S. Cellular Training Camp has been that the tempo and speed of play is a crucial component of what the team is ultimately trying to be about once the season begins. The caveat has always been that it’s not necessarily just about physical quickness, but playing with speed mentally as well. Thus far, Head Coach Billy Donovan has been finding ways to get those principles integrated into the Thunder’s two-a-day practices at the Thunder ION, powered by OU Medicine. The focus has been on getting the ball in-bounds quickly, pushing the ball into the front court after just a few seconds on the shot clock and making reads and cuts promptly and precisely. “They’re picking up on the things that we’re looking to do,” Donovan said. “We had a chance to talk about trying to play with a better pace and tempo, playing faster, in the offseason, so I think they expect that coming in here.”

Gallo on the Thunder’s commitment to learning NBA rule changes: “The shot clock will reset to 14 seconds in three scenarios: after an offensive rebound of a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; after a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; or after the offensive team gets possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim. The rule has been in effect in the NBA G League since the 2016-17 season, in the WNBA since 2016 and in FIBA play since 2014-15.  The rule was also in place during 2018 NBA Summer Leagues. “If Steven or whoever it is doesn’t score immediately on a put back and the ball comes back out, it’s going to be very difficult to reset the offense,” Donovan noted. “We’ve got to be able to continue attacking right away, and randomly probably. I can see offensive rebounding (where) the big gets it, he dribbles it out, tries to throw it out to the guard, next thing you know you’re down to eight seconds and trying to get into offense. Now you’re up against the clock. You’ve gotta be able to attack pretty quickly.”

Paul George on becoming a more vocal leader for the Thunder:

Jonathan Macri (FanSided) takes a Mad Men approach to the 2018-19 Thunder: ““That’s what the money is for!”- Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook, come on down. Russ not only wants our love, but he wants it unconditionally. Us mere mortals are not worthy to bask in the glory of his triple doubles and then question the manner in which he provides them (come to think of it, Colonel Jessup from A Few Good Men might be Westbrook’s perfect cinematic doppelgänger). One gets the sense that Russ could be named Time’s Man of the Year and still find something to be pissed off about. Are there legitimate questions about whether he’ll ever be able to succeed in the playoffs? Yes. Do the Warriors fear to play him in the least? Nope. Could a contract that pays him $205 million over the next five seasons look really bad, really soon if there’s even a slight dip in the athleticism that keeps his whole operation running? Absolutely. In Russ’ book, these are all conversations for another day. He wants his due. And he’s not afraid to let everyone know it.”

Peter Lampp (Stuff NZ) on the extraordinary rise of Steven Adams: “Obviously in the Adams genomes there is a single-track determination, as with his half-sister Valerie, the shot putter, nine years his elder. It also helped that Steven had seven feet (2.13 metres) of tallness genes, but at Scots he had to do a crash course in reading and writing to catch up from his truancy in Rotorua. Adams appears far from star struck, devoid of ego and said he never had NBA ambitions. While he couldn’t afford the pay-for-play New Zealand basketball teams, that doesn’t appear the reason he shuns the Tall Blacks. As he describes it, he is the third-highest paid player at Oklahoma and they expect him back in one piece. You don’t see Brendon Hartley or Scott Dixon back in the off-season skidding around Manfeild ín the NZ Grand Prix do you. Now Adams pays for poor Kiwi kids to wear the black singlet.”

Around the League: How Kyrie Irving got his groove back…. Tristan Thompson thinks the Cavs are still favorites to win the East…. The Wolves are reportedly asking too much for Jimmy Butler…. The Rockets are rumored to be making a strong effort to land Butler…. Klay Thompson says he wants to remain with the Warriors…. NBA coach power rankings…. Kevin Durant says “pure hate” is why he doesn’t win regular season awards…. Deconstructing preseason NBA player rankings…. Why is the NFL so far behind the NBA on social issues?