Practice Report: Focused on San Antonio
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With all that’s happened, it’s kind of easy to forget the Thunder’s season begins a day from now. And not only against a great team, but on the road against a team that would very much enjoy some payback.
“We know them well and they know us well,” said Scott Brooks. “They’re very difficult to guard and stop. They pass the ball. Last year they probably had some of the best passing games I’ve ever seen since I started playing basketball or coaching basketball. They are so well versed. They’ve had a lot of games at a high level and they’ve been together a lot of years … They do things that you know is coming and some of the things are hard to stop.”
Besides facing the Spurs, Brooks is tasked with trying to work in a new player and a figure out a new rotation completely on the fly.
“It’s exciting,” Brooks said. “It’s a great part of the job is always trying to figure out ways to get better. A lot of times you have to improvise on the fly. We’re a no excuse team. We’ve only had our guys for a few days of practice but when they step on the floor tomorrow night we expect them to play at a high level and expect them to know what we do.”
Here are the primary questions: How does Kevin Martin fit with the second unit? How does he gel with Nick Collison? How deep will Brooks go? Who is the backup center? How many minutes will Hasheem Thabeet get? Where does Perry Jones III fit? Not even Perry Jones III knows that.
“I have no clue,” Jones said Wednesday. “We’ll have to find out tomorrow.”
Seems that we’ll find out a lot tomorrow.
On who the backup point guard will be: “What time is the game tomorrow? 8:30? So we’ll know about 9:15, we’ll know. Or you will know.”
Brooks on Thunder-Spurs being a rivalry: “I don’t get in to that because if you do and you put more emphasis on one team, you have to have 29 rivalries and you have to really believe that. And if you don’t I think it sends a mixed message to the players that this game is more important than another game. But from a fan’s perspective I’m sure you can say that.”
Brooks on people counting out OKC: “Counting us out? That never, ever will bother me. You have to learn how to block those things out. But the guys I see every day — Perk, nick, Serge, Kevin, Russell — I’m very confident in that group. And I believe in the group and I’m ready to coach the group. I’m not worried what people are saying, we’re good or we’re bad, the trade’s this, the trade’s that. That’s behind us. We’ve moved on. James was good for us. But he’s no longer here. We have guys here that are committed, they’re excited to be here and they want to be here and we’re going to make the best out of all of them.”
PERRY JONES III
On his first NBA game: “Every rookie is excited for their first NBA game. I’m really excited. I just can’t wait to get out there and compete with these guys and see how the hard work we’ve put in will unfold.”
On being back: “It feels good to be back here in front of friends and family. I know I’ve got more support here than anywhere else. It feels good to be somewhere you know you’re going to be.”
On getting released: “When they released me of course I was upset. But soon after I had to figure out where I was going, where I was going to be for the year. But then the next couple days they talked to my agent and he called me and said we might get a deal with Oklahoma. And I said, ‘Let’s do it.'”