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OKC Thunder notebook: Thunder will use a zone defense this season

The Thunder hasn't shown any signs of adding the defensive scheme, but coach Scott Brooks says there's still time. But even when the strategy is put in, Brooks said he will not be reliant on it.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 26, 2012

Much of the talk immediately after the Thunder's loss to Miami in the Finals centered on plans to integrate a zone defense this preseason.

But with the seven-game exhibition schedule complete, and the season opener less than a week away, the Thunder still hasn't shown any signs of adding the defensive scheme. Thunder coach Scott Brooks, however, said there's still time.

“We still have six days of training camp,” Brooks said Friday.

A zone, many believe, would have been beneficial against the Heat. But even when the strategy is put in, Brooks said he will not be reliant on it.

“We will spend a fair amount of time (on it), but we're not going to spend a lot of time because that's not going to be a staple,” Brooks said. “It's going to be something that we will throw out there as a change of pace, just a wrinkle that we will throw with our defense. But we are a man-to-man (defensive team). When we play our best man-to-man we're really playing a good zone. But we will definitely tinker in some zone this year.”


Kevin Durant finished the preseason with 21 assists against seven turnovers.

While those stats are in no way the assist-to-turnover rate anyone should expect from Durant this season, they do provide a glimpse into how he has improved as a playmaker and perhaps foreshadow what might be in store this season.

“I hope so,” Durant said. “I just got to be more patient and make the right plays. So we'll see.”

In his previous five seasons, Durant has never finished with more assists than turnovers. For his career, he has 1,073 assists and 1,194 turnovers.


Brooks on Friday joked that the layoff between the preseason finale and the regular season opener feels like a second training camp. But the goal is to use the time wisely. For the Thunder, that means focusing on fundamentals.

“We have a mindset that we have to approach each day with, and that is play with great effort, play with the fundamentals and also play with toughness,” Brooks said. “When we do those three things we see a big improvement every day. That's always been our focus.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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