Brooks: "We're In A Good Place Right Now"
By Randy Renner
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is basically pretty happy with how far and fast things have progressed through the first week of training camp although he admits, "you always wanna put more in," as far as offensive sets and defensive schemes.
He and his coaches have been a bit limited in doing that because of some minor injuries to Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Sebastian Telfair and of course Kendrick Perkins is still out with that strained quad.
"We wanna make sure we have everybody on the same page of that particular sequence of offense or defense."
Practice times, especially the intense scrimmages, have been trimmed back a bit, "just because we have lower numbers and we didn't want to put too many reps on the guys. But we're still very competitive and we're in a good place right now."
The annual blue/white scrimmage also came at a good time. After almost a full week of practice at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center and weeks of voluntary workouts at the facility before that, going to Choctaw and playing in front of a crowd gave the players some extra juice.
""I think that definitely helped," Brooks said, "when you play against each other and compete against each other so often, every day, every drill you wanna see a different environment. So with the blue/white scrimmage the players see a different venue and they love it, they absolutely loved the atmosphere over there."
The atmosphere will get a tad thinner this week with a road trip to Denver but it will also provide something the Thunder are ready to see, guys in different uniforms.
"Yeah it will definitely be good," said Thunder guard Andre Roberson, "You get tired of beating up on each other all the time, it'll be nice to take it out on somebody else."
Roberson is in the mix to start at shooting guard this season. He's worked hard over the summer on his shooting (which needed the work) and on his defense (which was already top notch).
"The opportunity at hand is great, I'm just trying to take advantage of it by continuing to work hard and help my team out and get better as a player and a person every day."
Brooks said after the blue/white scrimmage on Sunday that he likely won't decide who will play, much less start, in Wednesday night's game until sometime Wednesday. And ther starting lineup Wednesday in Denver should not be used as an indication of what it will be on Opening Night in Portland, or even Friday night in Dallas for that matter.
"We still just have the mentality of getting better every day. We've had a good week of training camp. The exhibition game is gonna be another level of how we can judge the players. I think Denver is coming at a good time."
The Thunder will have a short practice session Tuesday morning then fly to Denver Tuesday afternoon. After the game the team will fly on to Dallas for Friday night's game against the Mavericks.