Enter Brooks. He's got to devise schemes that work and get a core of players who always have played open-range ball to more closely follow a script.
Brooks never has been one to admit that the Thunder offense could use some tinkering. “We have a terrific offensive system,” Brooks said.
And the data supports Brooks. The Thunder offense has been the NBA's best over the last three years.
Last season, OKC ranked second in the NBA in offense, 1.102 points per possession. The Heat led the league at 1.103. In 2011-12, the Thunder ranked second at 1.071, behind only the Spurs. In 2010-11, the Thunder was fourth at 1.086, behind Denver, San Antonio and Miami.
Over the three years, the Thunder has averaged 1.086 points per possession, Miami 1.080 and San Antonio 1.079.
But that kind of production is going to be difficult to maintain without a Harden/Martin third wheel. It's going to be impossible to maintain while Westbrook recovers from knee surgery.
The best shot in basketball is an open shot. Lamb shooting an open 15-footer is better than Durant or Westbrook shooting a contested 15-footer (I guess Andre Roberson actually puts this theory to the ultimate test), so Brooks is charged with getting more open 15-footers for his troops.
And Brooks knows it.
“We still want to play good basketball no matter who's out there,” Brooks said. “I think it's important to have multiple playmakers.
“Finishers are not just about Kevin and Russell and Reggie attacking the basket. Finishers are about Thabo getting to the right spot and making his shots. Serge getting to his spots and making his shots. We have a team full of those guys.”
The Thunder has had a team full of those guys for three years and largely disdained manufactured offense. This roster can't afford that mistake. Foreman Scotty has to coach differently in 2013-14.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.