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What is Basketball IQ? It's hard to explain, and most say it's something that players just have

By DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Modified: November 30, 2009 at 12:11 am •  Published: November 29, 2009

It's one of the most mysterious terms in basketball, a pithy phrase regularly seen in scouting reports, supposedly to sum up a player's knowledge of the game.

Basketball IQ.

Defining it isn't so easy.

"It's a feel for the game," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Some guys have it. Some guys don't. You don't necessarily need to have it to be successful. But when you have it you understand the game. You can pick up things quickly. You have a great sense of the team concepts and what the team is trying to do."

Nearly half the Thunder's roster at one point has been tagged with the term. You couldn't find a scouting report on rookie James Harden that didn't possess the phrase in the weeks leading up to the June draft. Shaun Livingston, Kyle Weaver, Kevin Ollie, Nick Collison and Jeff Green are among Harden's teammates who also have had the label attached to their names.

"We have a good IQ team," Brooks said. "I'm happy with our guys. Their level of IQ is pretty good."

But the term is widely overused, Brooks said.

"Absolutely. It's like 'Guys work hard,' or 'This guy's a winner,'" Brooks said. "I've been on teams where guys don't work hard but they're known as hard workers.

"No one wants to tell the truth because it'll hurt people's feelings."

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