How many guesses would it have taken you to land on Cole Aldrich if asked at the start of the preseason which Thunder player would be the biggest standout through the first two games?
OK, don't answer that.
But that's what the Thunder's second string center has become while starting in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins.
Aldrich has recorded two double-doubles and blocked six shots the first two games. His style hasn't always been pretty, but at the end of each game no one could argue that he wasn't effective.
“Cole and the word pretty, that's not a good combination,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Cole and solid is what we like. It doesn't look pretty, and that's probably saying it very nicely.”
Aldrich prides himself on doing the little things on the court, and Brooks said that's exactly what the third-year man out of Kansas has done thus far.
“What Cole does is he protects the paint, he sets screens, he makes the (opposing) offense work, he makes baskets around the paint and he has good hands,” Brooks said. “He's worked. He's worked for two years and didn't get a lot of opportunities. I'm glad that he's played well the first two games.”
DUAL POINT GUARD BACKCOURT MAKES ITS DEBUT
Midway through Friday's game at Utah, the Thunder debuted a dual point guard backcourt that featured Reggie Jackson and Eric Maynor. It's a lineup that possibly could be used at times this season to take advantage of Jackson's athleticism along with Maynor's playmaking in the second unit.
Although the Thunder fell 97-81 to the Jazz, the offense had a nice flow with both point guards on the floor together.
“It went well,” Jackson said. “Whoever got the ball really just pushed it, and I think he did a great job getting us in sets. Even in free throws, we talked it over sometimes, maybe what we should get into. Sometimes he was calling my number and I was telling him ‘no, no, no, go ahead, you got it.' Other times, I was calling his and he was telling me it was my turn.
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