Thunder's UV index: Nine- vs. 10-man rotations in the NBA

Thunder coach Scott Brooks knows how to consistently rotate nine players into a game, but he struggles with how to rotate 10.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: October 24, 2010
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The way Thunder coach Scott Brooks sees it, there's a world of difference between nine and 10.

Brooks knows how to consistently rotate nine of his players into a game, but he struggles with how to rotate 10.

During the Thunder's magical 50-win season last year, nine players averaged at least 16.5 minutes per game and eight appeared in at least 73 games with the Thunder.

Brooks said he doesn't precisely know how long this 9 vs. 10 predicament has existed. He knows it was there during his decade as an NBA point guard and has existed during his first decade as an NBA coach.

"It's hard to get a 10th guy into the game," Brooks said while shaking is head. "It's not just my philosophy. Some teams only go with eight (players). Mike D'Antoni only went with seven for a long time when he was in Phoenix."

Not only did Brooks know which players he wanted on the court last season, rarely were they unavailable. Brooks was blessed last season with players who were talented, young, athletic, energetic, disciplined... and healthy.

Health-wise, the law of averages never caught up to the Thunder last year, which is why everyone in a Thunder T-shirt is painfully hesitant to discuss the matter in fear of jinxing such good fortune.

Whenever he is asked about his team's supreme health, Brooks cringes a bit, quickly raps his knuckle on whatever surface is nearby and utters, "Knock on wood."

People well-versed in NBA history can't recall a healthier season than 2009-10 with the Thunder. Such astounding good health on one team might never have happened before, and might not happen for another half-century.

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