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Why Nazr Mohammed Isn’t Playing

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm •  Published: May 1, 2012
When he was playing, everybody wanted him benched. Now that he's been squeezed out of the rotation, more than a few folks are wondering where is Nazr Mohammed? "That's coaching in a nutshell right there," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "You play a guy, 'Why are you playing him?' You're not playing him, 'Why are you not playing him?'" Mohammed hasn't played so far in this series with the Mavs. And at the current rate, he doesn't figure to anytime soon. "It's just the matchups," Brooks explained. "They have (Brendan) Haywood as their big center, their legitimate 5, and he played eight minutes yesterday. So they're playing really a 4 as their center in (Ian) Mahinmi and (Brandan) Wright. So really there was no spot for him last night or even in Game 1." Mohammed saw his minutes slashed throughout the season, taking a dip from just under 18 a night a year ago to a mere 11 per game this season. Much of that had to do with Serge Ibaka's continued emergence and Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison's improved health and nightly availability. But Mohammed also is getting the short in because of small ball. "Kevin (Durant) plays that 4 with Serge and Nick," Brooks said. "And then you have the dilemma of if you play Kevin at the 4, who are you going to play at the 5? If you play Perk, then you don't have Serge. And if you play Serge, you don't have Perk and then Nick is out." Should the Thunder advance past these pesky Mavericks and meet the Lakers in the semifinals, Mohammed likely would return to the rotation to help battle L.A.'s big men. But if OKC does get past Dallas and meets Denver in the next round, Mohammed could continue to be squeezed out. It's one of the many tough calls Brooks has to make. And it's why he constantly stresses the point about not being able to play everyone. "That's a good problem to have," Brooks said, "because we have really good players. But it's also a tough problem to manage because they're really good players." -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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