Thunder coach Scott Brooks said his team must improve its passing if it’s going to return to the NBA Finals this season.
OKC convincingly finished dead last (30th) in the NBA for most turnovers during the 2011-12 regular season, averaging 16.3 per game while opponents committed just 14.2.
In what way must the Thunder improve? Their passing ability, catching ability, decision-making?
“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Brooks explained after Friday’s practice. “It’s the willingness to pass, the decisions to make the correct pass, the ability to understand where the next pass (is) and also the receiver. In the past we had some spacing issues, but that picked up last season. Some of our turnovers were off of guys trying to make the pass and didn’t quite execute it the same way.
“I hope to see another step in that direction, but we have guys who get along and we have guys who play extremely hard and the next step is to try to figure out ways to get better offensively and help each other score more easily. We spend a lot of time on passing drills, just the basic fundamentals of passing – chest pass, push pass, bounce pass, overhead pass, baseball pass – we try to incorporate them all in the course of a practice. Then we try to do 2-on-0, 3-on-0, 5-on-0 drills that really promote the passing mentality. I thought the guys have done a good job of that.”
On a positive note, OKC improved dramatically in committing fewer turnovers during the postseason. The Thunder ranked third in the playoffs in fewest turnovers with 11.6 per game and fifth in opponent turnovers, again at 14.2.
“In the playoffs, I thought we really made a major step in the right direction,” Brooks said. “Hopefully that carries over into the regular season.”