Brooks Says Starting Spots Up For Grabs
By Randy Renner
Coming into training camp everyone knows the starting shooting guard spot is wide open.
Everyone wondered if the starting center position could be too with the rapid improvement of last season's rookie sensation Steven Adams and a drop off the last couple seasons in Kendrick Perkins abilities.
It didn't take long today for answers. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, speaking to reporters first today during media day, confirmed the starting center spot is open too for the first time since Perk has been in Oklahoma City.
"Steven has improved over last season, Perk will be re-evaluated with his quad injury over the next few weeks. You need all players to compete at a level we want to compete at. It's all about professionalism, it's all about sacrifice. It's open and we will see."
Even though Perkins' skills have seemed to have eroded the last couple of seasons this will be the first time he's faced a legitimate challenge for the center spot. Perkins has worked hard during the off-season and has shed about 20 pounds. It should be fascinating to see how this plays out.
"One thing about Perk, he cares about winning and he's given us a great opportunity over the years," Brooks said. "Whether he starts or doesn't start he's going to fill a role that we need. And the same with Steven. But it will be determined as the preseason evolves. We have plenty of time to see it work it's way out."
During his time with reporters Brooks also said he believes Russell Westbrook, "is the best point guard in basketball."
Brooks also has the NBA's reigning MVP in small forward Kevin Durant. KD had a busy summer, almost too busy at times. but he told reporters today he feels better than ever after taking the last month or so of the summer off to rest up for the coming season.
"I feel great," he said, "taking the time to rest your mind and body does wonders for you." Durant also said he wants "us to come to work with a lot of energy and encourage each other every single day."
Thunder backup point guard Reggie Jackson may not be the best point guard in basketball right now but wants the chance to be.
Jackson has consistently said he not only wants to be a starter in the NBA but that he wants to be a starting point guard. That of course will likely be impossible with the Thunder as long as Westbrook is also on the roster but when Jackson was asked why he wants to start, it was certainly hard to find fault with his answer.
"I always felt like I wanted a chance to be great, just to have my destiny in my own hands. All I can ask for is a chance."
He will for sure have a chance to win the starting shooting guard spot, but it would also seem that leaving him in his current role as the leader of the second group might be what's best for the team. That battle for the shooting guard spot will be another fascinating battle.
Over the next few days we'll be posting videos of the full interviews with all the Thunder players. As you can see today we're beginning with Scotty, KD and Reggie.
And speaking of beginning...Thunder Training Camp 2014 begins Tuesday.