Training camp is just around the corner. In eight days, Scott Brooks will begin his first full season as a head coach. Brooks abruptly was given the reins a week before Thanksgiving when P.J. Carlesimo was fired less than a month into the season.
Training camp will provide Brooks a chance to implement some changes he couldn’t make on the fly last season. During visits with players in their hometowns this summer, taking trips ranging from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, Brooks stressed improving defensively is his No. 1 priority. "That’s the one part we have to do is get consistent on the defensive end,” said Jeff Green. "Sometimes we were lackadaisical on the defensive end, myself included. If we get consistent at that, work well together as a team, with a training camp under our belt, that will help us a lot.” But those are individual talks. Individual workouts. Everything ratchets up next week. Former fan favorite Desmond Mason, an NBA veteran who recently signed with Sacramento, said a full training camp is invaluable, especially for a young coach like Brooks. "He was put in a tough situation,” Mason said. "He already put in some things last season. But now he can put in his entire system. More repetitions will help. It becomes like breathing where everyone works together as a unit. You could see that late in the season.” The final three months of last season, the Thunder showed improvement under Brooks. When Brooks took over for Carlesimo the Thunder was 1-12. It took awhile for the improvement to show. Oklahoma City posted an identical 1-12 record during Brooks’ first month. OKC was still only 3-29 heading into a New Year’s Eve game.