“It’s always on the first try mate,” Adams smirked when asked about the three. “I just got the ‘go’, mate.”
“We had talked about it going into the game because Steven has been practicing it. We knew we wanted that to be our first play, and we told big fella to let it go,” Paul grinned.
Adams is likely to update his game this season with some skill development and modern NBA tweaks. That type of expansion and experimentation seems to be happening on a lineup level for the Thunder as well.
Throughout the offseason and into training camp, Thunder fans wondered when and how they might see all three of the team’s point guards on the floor. It was hinted at by Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan, but few would have believed that the coaching staff could not only try it out but have that trio firing on all cylinders in the starting lineup of the very first preseason game of the 2019-20 campaign against the Dallas Mavericks.
Working off of the principles of ball movement, constant motion and playing off of one another to create high quality looks, the Thunder exploded for 66 first half points on 65 percent shooting, including 8-for-13 three-point shooting and 14 assists. The guard trio of Paul, Dennis Schröder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander found big men Steven Adams (17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Danilo Gallinari (10 points 9 rebounds) for open looks and carved out driving lanes for themselves too.
The offensive evolution Donovan is attempting to implement with this new-look Thunder group was on display from the get-go, as Paul (17 minutes), Schröder (22 minutes) and Gilgeous-Alexander (26 minutes) combined to score 43 points, grab 13 rebounds and dish out 10 assists.