Daequan Cook entered this season with perhaps the most to gain from the departure of Derek Fisher. But after a week of training camp, it's beginning to sound like Cook's spot in the rotation isn't as secure as once projected — if not lost altogether due to the arrival of promising rookie Perry Jones III.
“It's too early right now, but definitely D.C. had a role last year and I thought he did a pretty good job,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “But there's games where he's not going to play many minutes. There's games he's only going to play in the first half. You just have to be ready. But we have three or four guys that can play that role and we just have to see which one starts off.”
Before Fisher joined the Thunder in midseason last year, Cook was playing consistent minutes and had even started 22 consecutive games while Thabo Sefolosha nursed an injury. Once Fisher came on board, and Sefolosha returned, Cook's playing time dwindled. For a while, it appeared as if Cook would command a chunk of the minutes Fisher received last year. But Cook is now caught in a full blown position battle at the backup shooting guard/small forward spot.
“We have a good team,” Brooks said. “There's only so many minutes, and Kevin (Durant) plays a lot of minutes at that spot. So it's hard to get consistent minutes when you have a good team like we have with Kevin playing the minutes (he plays) and James (Harden) and Thabo.”
Cook is competing with Jones III and Lazar Hayward for minutes and was thought to have a leg up due to his contributions last season. So far, though, Jones has garnered most of the praise throughout training camp. At the end of Monday's practice, Cook didn't seem interested in discussing the logjam and how it might impact him.
“It's different for everybody,” Cook said. “I mean, it's different looks for every (practice) team. I'm not really concerned about that right now. I'm more focused on just preparing myself for the season and helping the younger guys out right now.”
Perry Jones III on defending Kevin Durant: “I just try to use my length. Try the best that I can to use my length and just try to stay in front of him. And just make it hard for him to make shots. I blocked one (of his shots) — one out of like 80.”
Former Oklahoma State men's basketball coach Eddie Sutton was a guest at practice Monday. … The Thunder will practice one final time Tuesday morning before leaving for its preseason opener against Houston in Hidalgo, Texas.