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September 30, 2019

Billy Donovan

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Q. Coach, obviously this is like the first day of school. What are you excited about as you head into this training camp and get practices going tomorrow?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think you're always excited when the season comes around just to get everybody together. Obviously a lot has happened with our team throughout the off-season. A lot of new faces. A lot of returning guys as well.

I think tomorrow is a day for us to start to work to try to grow and get better as a team. Try to get a little bit more comfortable playing with one another. Not all of us have had a chance to play with each other this off-season, so training camp will be important to do that.

Q. What stands out to you about the skillset of this group and maybe some of the options you'll have at your disposal heading into the season?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think we've got the one unique part is having three point guards. How can we effectively use those guys two at a time, all three of them. The ability of different guys that can put on the floor and create and generate and make plays.

It really comes down to more so than anything for us offensively how well can we play together being a new group. What kind of shots can we generate? How can we generate good looks for one another.

And then defensively we've always had a really good defensive identity. Can we get tied together as a group to start tomorrow in training camp to build a defensive identity with so many new guys.

Q. Seems like an opportunity for you to do what you do best and get creative with the player combinations you have. Danilo Gallinari who can stretch the floor at that power forward spot, and play him alongside Steven Adams, how excited are you about testing some of these things out and using this blank slate to your advantage?
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, I think we have to do that. We get into our first pre-season game within the first six or seven days of training camp. Going to have to look at a lot of different combinations out there, because we do have guys that are very flexible, versatile, and can play different positions.

I think we've got to look at some different combinations the first week of practice before we go into our first pre-season game with Dallas.

Q. I think most fans are really psyched about the potential Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Just from your dealings with him so far, what have you seen from him?
BILLY DONOVAN: Great guy. Had an incredible rookie year. I think the biggest thing with him is he's got a strong desire to get better, to improve. I think he's just a basketball player. He's played all over the place. He can play with the ball in his hands, he can play off the ball, got really good length, can guard multiple positions.

The thing that is most interesting with him is just his versatility.

Q. Yeah, and he will be a versatile player at that point guard position. Seems like he could play alongside Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder. What did you see is as an opportunity there to get multiple of those guys on the floor at the same time?
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, I mean, I think that's what it comes down to. Multiple ball handlers down on the floor. You want to be able to incorporate all those guys so that they're flowing and playing together.

Shai is one of those guys that can play with Chris, he can play with Dennis; and I think vice versa. Dennis can play and Chris and Shai, and so can Chris. We have different combinations of different guys we can use out there.

The biggest thing is those guys are so good with the ball in their hands is realizing how can they get everybody involved, generate good offense, generate good shots.

Q. I think a lot of the focus has been on the offense, but how do you see those guys as maybe ball pressure players defensively as well? That's going to be a huge part of what you'll have to be about this year.
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, I mean, Dennis has always been a really good defender. He is a guy that can pick up full court; he can pressure the basketball.

Shai has got really good length.

Chris Paul have been a seven-time first team all defense throughout his career, so he is a high-level defender.

So I think we have like three guys back there, even though Shai has size, but Dennis and Chris aren't these real, real big, enormous guards, but they've both been really, really good defensive players.

I think Shai is a guy that's going to evolve into that with length and size.

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