New faces will be tested in Thunder's preseason opener

Thunder has worked on offense during training camp, but communication on defense is also important.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 9, 2012

Comfort, communication and carryover.

In a nutshell, that's what Thunder coach Scott Brooks seeks from his team as the seven-game preseason schedule gets under way with Wednesday night's opener against Houston.

For the players, impressing the staff this exhibition season starts with completing those three objectives.

“We want to see what we've picked up, what the new guys have picked up and how well they're playing with their instincts,” Brooks said.

Brooks has raved about how productive the start of training camp has been, particularly the energy and intensity players have given. Now Brooks wants to see carryover against new competition — especially from the seven new faces that are in their first camp with the Thunder.

“They all know the stuff,” Brooks said of the younger players like rookies Perry Jones III and Hollis Thompson. “Sometimes it might take a split second to internalize it, but sometimes that's too late in a basketball game against an opponent. So we have to figure out who has picked it up, who feels comfortable out there to just go and play the game that we've worked on for the last 10 days.”

Unlike past years, the Thunder has focused heavily on developing offensively, so attention to detail on that end of the floor will be a point of emphasis.

“We've spent quite a bit of time working on that,” Brooks said.

And as always, a commitment to defending will be paramount.

“That's where it always has to start for us, defensive execution, defensive intensity, defensive toughness,” Brooks said. “Those are things that we will definitely monitor (Wednesday) night.”

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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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Thunder vs. Rockets

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: State Farm Arena (Hidalgo, Texas)

TV: None

Radio: WWLS-FM 98.1, WWLS-AM 640

Three things to know

* This is the preseason opener for both teams.

* Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) and Kendrick Perkins (wrist) will not play due to injury.

* Thunder coach Scott Brooks has said that none of his starters will play more than 20 minutes Wednesday night.

Projected starters

Thunder

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast.

G, Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 23.6, 4.6, 5.5

G, Daequan Cook, 6-5, 5.5, 2.1, 0.3

F, Kevin Durant, 6-9, 28.0, 8.0, 3.5

F, Serge Ibaka, 6-10, 9.1, 7.5, 0.4

C, Cole Aldrich, 6-11, 2.2, 1.8, 0.1

Rockets

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast.

G, Jeremy Lin, 6-3, 14.6, 3.1, 6.2

G, Kevin Martin, 6-7, 17.1, 2.7, 2.8

F, Chandler Parsons, 6-9, 9.5, 4.8, 2.1

F, Patrick Patterson, 6-9, 7.7, 4.5, 0.8

C, Omer Asik, 7-0, 3.1, 5.3, 0.5

* All stats are from the 2011-12 regular season.

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