Thunder players have been careful to not use Adams' loss as an excuse. And they're not.
“It's not like he took what we we're doing when he was here with him,” said Nick Collison. “We're doing the same things. The players just have to do a better job of executing it. The game plan hasn't changed. We just haven't done it well. We just need to do the work.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks attributed this season's shortcomings to his team still being in the early stages of building good habits. Rather than blame defensive deficiencies on Adams' departure, Brooks chooses to focus on the fundamentals that the Thunder has found difficult to execute consistently.
Those areas include stopping the ball, playing better man-to-man defense, playing good help side defense, contesting shots and rebounding well.
“We have to improve on all those areas,” Brooks said. “We're not horrible on any of those areas. But there is room for improvement in all of those areas.”