OKC Thunder: Hakeem Olajuwon wants to help out Serge Ibaka

Hall of Fame center has contacted coach Scott Brooks about tutoring the Thunder big man on his offensive game.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 10, 2012


photo - NBA BASKETBALL: Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) grabs the ball beside Miami's Chris Bosh (1) during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
NBA BASKETBALL: Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) grabs the ball beside Miami's Chris Bosh (1) during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Serge Ibaka might soon have a new Hall of Fame coach.

Hakeem Olajuwon has reached out to Thunder coach Scott Brooks to determine if and perhaps when he might be able to work with Ibaka on his offensive game. Olajuwon's representatives contacted Brooks, who teamed with the former Rockets star, via text on Tuesday.

Olajuwon originally expressed his interest in working with Ibaka to Fox Sports last month, saying the Thunder's runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year “needs it.”

Brooks on Tuesday told The Oklahoman that he loves the idea.

“I played with Hakeem for three years,” Brooks said of his stint with Olajuwon and the Rockets from 1992-95. “He's one of the best to ever play the game. Anytime you can get players that played at a high level that can share their insight, you have to take advantage of it.”

Ibaka has a small window of availability this summer. He will compete for Spain in the London Olympics, which run from July 27 through Aug. 12. It's unclear what Ibaka's plans are beyond that. Typically, many Thunder players reconvene in Oklahoma City several weeks before the start of training camp to begin voluntary workouts as a team.

Ibaka has gotten more comfortable and confident on the offensive end every year he's been in the NBA. In his third season, Ibaka averaged 9.1 points on 53.5 percent shooting as the fourth option behind Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. But Brooks said after the season that Ibaka can be even better offensively.

“He can improve a little bit more, especially with the experience he has gained,” Brooks said. “I think we see a peek of what he can become on the offensive end. I do not think he is going to be a 20-point scorer, but I think his midrange is as good as anyone on our team and we have to do a better job of finding him opportunities.”

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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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