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Practice Report: Notes and Quotes

by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 8, 2012

Nuggets from my notebook from day six of training camp.

  • More free throws today. I cannot wait until Wednesday.
  • Scott Brooks said the team scrimmaged more today but also did a lot of halfcourt 5-on-5 designed to focus on offense and defense. Brooks said today’s practice went up another level from a physical standpoint. “You know they’re ready to play another team when they’re bickering about each other fouling too much, and today (that) was the case,” Brooks said.
  • Brooks said he hasn’t penciled in a rotation at the center spot for the preseason opener but says he will tomorrow. The starters, though, will play “first-half minutes,” Brooks said. No starter will play more than 20 minutes, Brooks said.
  • A lot of talk about Cole Aldrich today, specifically whether he’s ready for the responsibility that’s about to be placed on his shoulders. Most of you remember Aldrich struggling in summer league. Brooks, however, said that was a long time ago and that he isn’t concerned about that poor performance. “He didn’t play great, but the summer is there to get better and improve. It’s what you do all summer long. It’s not what you do for the two weeks, or the five games. But we’ll see how he plays the rest of camp and the exhibition season. I put a little bit of weight into the summer league but not now. I put it in at that time because that was the most important time was that time. But now that training camp has started, that’s so far behind us.”
  • Brooks also said the schedule didn’t do Aldrich any favors back in summer league either. It was about a 10-day hiatus from the end of the Finals to the start of summer league. “When guys take that much time off and get back into it, it’s usually not good,” Brooks said.
  • Aldrich also looked back on his summer league performance. He said he wasn’t worried about not playing as well as he would have liked. “I wasn’t at all,” Aldrich said. “It was my first summer league. The first game I played 35 minutes. I don’t know when the last time I played 35 minutes was. It’s just a time when you can assess yourself a little bit, and it’s not about scoring points and doing spectacular things. It’s about doing the little things, setting good screens, guarding pick and rolls, doing stuff like that that’s really going to make a difference.”
  • Aldrich also said he doesn’t feel any pressure going into this season. “I don’t feel no pressure myself,” he said. “I come in every day, work hard. I’ve gotten a lot better and that’s all you can do.”
  • Aldrich reiterated that he really wants and needs to focus on defensive pick and rolls. “I’ve talked about it for a while now…because everybody runs them and about 70 percent of every possession has a pick and roll in it. And if you can master that then you’re going to be a factor.”
  • Aldrich on playing against Hasheem Thabeet: “He’s big and I’m a big guy.”
  • When asked about the leadership of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins, Aldrich said they expect a lot out of their teammates and make sure the intensity and level of work is always high. “Those are the guys we really listen to and we respect,” Aldrich said.
  • Daequan Cook said guys are much more vocal this year, which seems to back up earlier statements from Westbrook, Durant and Collison who all said they want to take on more of a leadership role. “That’s important,” Cook said. “Most of the time you want to lead by action, but a lot of guys are more vocal and teaching a lot better this year. We got about four or five new guys on the team and we just want to teach them and make sure they know their roles on this team and know the spots to be in on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.”
  • Cook gave a pretty somber answer when asked about minutes and whether the guard-heavy camp roster has led him to have to fight for minutes. Immediately, Cook’s demeanor changed and it could have been all we needed to know about where he stands in the eyes of the coaches and perhaps whether Perry Jones III already has bumped him in the rotation. “It’s different for everybody,” Cook started. “I mean, it’s different looks for every team. I’m not really concerned about that right now. I’m more focused on just preparing myself for the season and helping the younger guys out right now.”
  • Let me break that last nugget down another way. Cook doesn’t sound like he’s in the plans, but he does sound like he knows it.
  • Cook on the physicality of today’s practice: “That’s what’s going to help us out. We’re an aggressive team, especially on the offensive end. So we feel like it’s important for us to be just as aggressive on the defensive end.”
  • Cook said his ankle is fine. No problems. If you didn’t know, he rolled it a few days back.
  • Brooks said the staff will wait at least a game or two before adding new offensive sets and defensive schemes. Right now, the team is just focusing on its customary sets.
  • Former Oklahoma State men’s basketball coach Eddie Sutton was a guest at today’s practice.
  • Cook gave his impressions of Hollis Thompson today and said the rookie is in the same league as him and Andy Rautins as a shooter. “Very good shooter,” Cook said. “Runs the floor very well. Very athletic. That’s it. I mean, he’s a real good young player right now.” Cook continued. “Every time he gets it the most important thing for him to do is shoot the ball. That’s important. Like I always tell him, it’s nothing to think about. You’ve got a split second, two seconds to shoot the ball, that’s what you’re out there to do. Don’t ever pass up a good shot for a bad shot. He has that good mentality of knowing what’s a good and bad shot and he takes advantage of it.”


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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