Billy Donovan: Young Thunder Look Stronger

Erik Gee

Concerns about players getting lazy during their time away from basketball seem to be exaggerated, at least when it comes to the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Steven Adams was "boxing out cows" in New Zeland, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a new physique that would make most models jealous. At the same time, Danilo Gallinari and his girlfriend posted videos of their workouts on Instagram. 

But, these weren't the only members of the Thunder who used the hiatus to get in better shape. According to Billy Donovan, the young players took advantage of the impromptu offseason to hit the weight room. 

"Terrance Ferguson looks stronger, Bazley looks stronger, Hammi [Hamidou Diallo] looks stronger, I'd even say Lu Dort looks stronger if you can believe that with the way he's built." Donovan says you can see a physical difference with the guys who are between 19-21 and how much they can develop over a five to six month period can be "amazing."

Dort is listed at 6-3 215 pounds according to basketball reference. That's 215 pounds of solid muscle; he's already playing 22 minutes per game. 

While Donovan won't commit to starting Dort when the season resumes, you have to think his dedication to becoming a bigger physical presence on defense will garner him more minutes. It seems Dort's success in the starting lineup has lit a fire in Ferguson. If iron sharpens iron, the Thunder will be ready to compete when August 1st comes around. 

Bazley has not played since February when he bruised a bone in his right knee. Donovan says, "I think Darius Bazley physically has made a nice jump for us. We'll see how he can continue to develop; he's obviously been away from the game for quite some time with his injury."

In 53 games, Bazley is averaging 4.5 points in 17 minutes. 

Two Players Test Positive For COVID-19

The NBA announced today that 322 players had been tested for coronavirus since arriving in Orlando. Two of those players have shown positive.

Those players did not clear quarantine and have left campus.

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.