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Oklahoma City Thunder: What can Scott Brooks do to counteract the Serge Ibaka injury?

The series is still two days away, giving Brooks a 48-hour window to implement some adjustments and tweaks. And it starts with who he starts. The most obvious choice would seem to be Nick Collison.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 16, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) talks to head coach Scott Brooks during an NBA basketball game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) talks to head coach Scott Brooks during an NBA basketball game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“Our roster’s really good,” Collison said. “It’s really deep. We’ve got a lot of bigs we can throw out there. We’ve got a unique roster. A lot of teams don’t have that many bigs we can throw at their guys.”

And then there’s the intriguing idea of reinserting Perry Jones into the rotation. He has only been given 15 playoff minutes, all mop-up duty. But for brief stretches in the regular season, Jones received extended run and showed flashes. And he even started in Ibaka’s place during the only game he missed.

As a 6-foot-11 guard/forward hybrid, Jones would allow the Thunder to “go small,” while staying big. Described by Brooks as a “utility defender,” Jones can guard multiple positions and free up Durant to slide to the power forward on offense, creating tough cross-matches for the Spurs.

Because of its youth, athleticism and length, the Thunder has had San Antonio’s number the past few seasons. The loss of Ibaka diminishes that. But a reinsertion of Jones or even Jeremy Lamb into the mix, creating some surprising and unique lineups, could help counteract that.

“The coaching staff has done an excellent job this season developing the roster and creating a lot of different options,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. “… But not everybody can play. What I expect is that the coaches take a thorough look at everything and put together a gameplan that they feel like optimizes the group in this particular series.”

Ibaka’s injury creates some massive and unavoidable challenges for the Thunder. But if Brooks is willing to make some unique adjustments, he could create present some intriguing challenges for the Spurs.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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