With NBA All-Star Saturday Night now exactly one month away, Thunder forwards Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant are beginning to prepare for the dunk contest. Ibaka is one of four participants while Durant has been assigned as Ibaka's official coach.
On Friday, a camera crew attended practice to capture footage of Ibaka and Durant gearing up for the contest. Some of the material will be available soon at nba.com/dunk, but coach Scott Brooks joked that the two have a long way to go.
“I have no clue what he's going to bring,” said Brooks, who plans to attend the event in Los Angeles to support his players. “The only dunks I've seen were in the game. And those are great for us, but they're not All-Star, dunk-championship dunks. There is not enough creativity right now. But he must have something.”
Brooks then poked fun at Durant when a reporter asked about the Thunder's star being enlisted as Ibaka's coach.
“That's Serge's problem right there,” Brooks joked. “KD has one dunk, the one-handed tomahawk. That's all he brings to the table. That's not going to be championship dunk ready either … I'm serious. I don't know what he's going to do. I'm worried.”
Ibaka said he is just now starting to think of ideas but assured he would have some tricks to pull out of the bag. Ibaka just isn't saying what they might be.
“It's top secret,” he said. “It's a surprise.”
At 26.4 points per game, New York forward Amar'e Stoudemire ranks second in the league in scoring behind Durant. In the Knicks' 112-98 win over the Thunder on Dec. 22, Stoudemire scored a team-high 23 points with seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
“If we can limit his touches, that does help,” said Brooks. “But we just have to make his touches difficult once he gets the ball. He's a terrific low-post scorer. He's an excellent elbow scorer. And he can put it on the floor, and he's one of the best at rolling to the basket from the pick-and-roll set. We have to stay in front of him as best we can. We let him get away with too much the last time we played them. He was attacking the basket and feeling free on his jump shot.”