need a player,’ and he understood what I meant,” Brooks said.
Though Ollie admits he someday hopes to prowl the sideline as an NBA coach, that day isn’t today.
Consider Ollie a player/coach if you must, but make sure the job titles are in the correct order.
"Kevin can play. He does a great job of keeping his game sharp,” Brooks said. "He’s always mentally ready. He takes care of himself and we need him to play. One day he’s going to be a great coach. He understands the game as well as anybody in this league.”
Ollie has been on four playoffs teams. The many coaches for whom he’s played include Larry Brown, Don Nelson and George Karl.
"We needed a veteran player who understands his role, and Kevin is the best,” Brooks said. "He does everything that you want your younger players to see.”
Brooks has given Ollie the green light to share advice with teammates whenever Ollie deems it necessary.
"I respect him a lot. I talk to him a lot. I’m always in his ear,” Brooks said.
The articulate Ollie excels as a communicator.
"As a point guard, I think you’ve got to be outspoken,” Ollie said. "You’ve got to direct people to the right positions, to be in the right spots because as a point guard it looks bad (if you don’t).”
Ollie knows what’s what. He knows what the Thunder wants from him on the court, and off.
"I understand my role,” Ollie said. "That’s the key to any team, understanding your role. They’ve made me feel comfortable in that role from Day One. You want to gain their trust. Hopefully, I’ve done that. I’m not here for selfish reasons.
"I’ve been in this position a lot of times.”
475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.