In today’s editions of The Oklahoman, I wrote about Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ philosophy regarding his seemingly rigid rotation.
Here’s the part Brooks would rather not discuss.
Near the end of our chat, Brooks ran down a list of in-game situations and sets that, in his mind, illustrate just how much him and his staff have dared to be different. The rundown came shortly after a question I asked Brooks about the perception of him being stubborn with his substitution pattern over the years. Everything he said after that is a part of a list of things Brooks prefers to not talk about in an effort to deflect praise from himself and keep any and all credit remaining squarely on the shoulders of his players.
“We do things as a staff that are ways to get our players in a position to have success. I don’t ever look at it as myself being flexible,” Brooks explained.
Then came the detailed description of how the Thunder’s staff has toyed with new things.
“You look at our team, Kevin (Durant) handles the ball. Our 2 handles the ball. Our 1 handles the ball,” Brooks started. “Our 1 sets screens on pick-and-rolls. Our 3 sets screens on pick-and-rolls. When Kevin’s at the 4, our 1 sets screens on the 4.
“We do a lot of things that I don’t need to get credit for. Our players deserve it. But you tell me (how many) teams that run the 3-man with the ball sets screens with the 1? Give me another team that does that. Not many. I don’t know if there’s another team that does that. Give me another team that posts up the point guards. Give me another team that plays Kevin at the 4 and has him bring up the ball and has Russell (Westbrook) set a screen for him. Give me another team that has the point guard set a screen for a guy down low and have him pop up to the free throw line. Tell me another 5 that guards the point guard in the league.”
Brooks seemed to have to stop himself from going on.
“I mean, we’ve got a lot of things that are not vanilla but we always get called out for being vanilla.”