Don't Expect An Early Decision On Starters
By Randy Renner
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters on media day there are starting positions open (shooting guard and center) and minutes to be fought for (within the rotation) after Thursday's practice Brooks said those battles will likely continue for most, if not all, of training camp.
"We have a competitive camp so far and that's what we want," Brooks said. "Guys are fighting for minutes. This isn't a feel good league, we wanna make sure every minute on the court is earned. We can't play everyone. We have to figure out what's best for team. It's always about sacrificing."
Brooks says he's not going in with any preconceived notions, that he will try all sorts of combinations and possibilities during practice and during the preseason games.
"There are some players who could start but they're actually better off the bench and there are some players you'd think would be coming off the bench but they're good for our starters. We have to find all that during training camp."
And at this point, just a few days in, Brooks isn't nearly ready to make a decision, "it may not go to the very end (of camp) but it won't be until later on."
And even when the decision IS made Brooks said he's open to the possibility that whoever starts in game 1, might not necessarily, because of matchups, be the starter in game 10 or even game 2 for that matter.
"That's definitely something I've thought about and we've talked about it as a staff," he admitted. "In the past we haven't needed to adjust our starting lineup (except for injuries) but this year we might have a lineup that could change. It's all gonna be predicated on how it ends up during training camp."
Brooks has been asked before and I asked him again today if this team could be his deepest from top to bottom.
He's not sure yet and may not really know until a good portion of the season has been played. Then we'll all have a better idea of what Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones and Andre Roberson are gonna bring. And Reggie Jackson, Steven Adams and Anthony Morrow for that matter. Even Mitch McGary.
If those guys come through then there's no question this will be the deepest Thunder team. Brooks though has decided he's seem some improvement in the maturity of his ball club and he cited Adams as the prime example.
"He made great progress the first day of training camp when he shaved off his mustache."
P.J. Back At Camp
Former Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo visited training camp on Thursday for ESPN. He and anchor Sage Steele spent most of the day at the facility talking to Brooks and the players.
Carlesimo was the first NBA head coach for both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and both players gave him big hugs when they saw him.
"It was great seeing PJ," KD told reporters, "I love him. He was the guy that was around when I was 18 years old (his rookie year in Seattle) and drafted me. It was good to see him again, he's always going to be a part of my journey, I was always enjoy seeing him."
As to what Durant remembers most from those early days?
"I was spacing out a lot, as an 18-year-old kid in practices and shoot-arounds so I was always getting yelled at but he taught me every time you step on that court is important in order for you to win basketball games and that's something that's gonna stick with me forever."