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Getting Better Every Day

by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 16, 2010

By now, you’ve read and heard the cliche.

The Thunder’s motto is to get better every day.

But lately, that theme has been seen on the practice court inside the Thunder’s training facility.

Thabo Sefolosha has joined Kevin Durant and Jeff Green of late at one goal to drill on individual moves. The three of them go through various shooting drills with assistant coaches Brian Keefe and Rex Kalamian.

“We’re just trying to expand our games, trying to get better each day,” Green said. “Trying to not come with the same thing every day. Make the opposing defense have to respect our one-on-one game.”

At another goal, big men Cole Aldrich, Byron Mullens, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and D.J. White rotated in and out to face each other in a one-on-one low-post drill. It created some entertaining moments, with Collison dunking on a player whose name I won’t mention. More importantly, you could see the work sharpening skills.

“It helps us out a lot, just to keep our game refreshed,” White said. “Whenever it’s called upon us to score on the low block, we want to be ready. Just competing against each other and trying to get each other better.”

  • Nenad Krstic took stand-still jumpers today. Over the past few days, he’s been confined to light work on a treadmill. But today’s sighting has to be seen as progress as he works his way back from a back injury.
  • I spoke with White today about his shooting. It’s seemed to me that he either is hesitant to pull the trigger when he gets some playing time or he doesn’t feel he has the green light that others do. White said that’s not the case and added that he’s looking to do whatever is asked of him on any given night. “Sometimes, you get into the game, you touch the ball and you don’t want to shoot it your first time. You want to work it around. But I feel confident. I missed a couple the past couple of games, but that happens to shooters.”
  • If White gets more playing time Friday against Sacramento, he’ll  face some familiar foes. White and Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins are both from Alabama. White remembers when, during his sophomore year at Indiana, Cousins made visit to IU. “He’s a great young player,” White said. “I watched him all last year at Kentucky, and this year he’s doing well. He’s a very talented player so he’s going to be someone we’ll try to key on tomorrow night.” White also knows Kings forward Carl Landry quite well from their Big Ten days. Landry was a bruiser for Purdue. “Me and Carl had some great rivalries,” White said. “I think I got the best of the matchup because we won. But me and Carl battled for a couple of years. He’s a  great player as well.”
  • Green was asked about his ankle today, whether it’s something that continues to warrant treatment after causing him to miss seven games this season, or if it can fully heal during the season. “I don’t know,” Green said. “But it’s been feeling great these past couple of games. I haven’t even been thinking about it so that’s a plus.”
  • Green also responded to a question about the difference between this season and last season for him individually by saying he’s getting to the free throw line. “I’m not settling for jump shots,” Green said. “The games I’ve been getting to the free throw line a lot, I’ve had semi big games.”
  • Keep an eye on Russell Westbrook if ever the Thunder has a chance to throw up a halfcourt shot to beat a quarter buzzer. Westbrook and Mo Peterson have been flinging halfcourt heaves after practice the last few sessions, and Westbrook has buried them with surprising consistency.

-DM-

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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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