James Harden continues to insist it matters little whether he starts or comes off the bench.
Thabo Sefolosha, the Oklahoma City Thunder's current starting shooting guard, says the same.
Coach Scott Brooks, meanwhile, isn't saying much. Brooks hasn't settled on either as the starter for tonight's preseason game against Memphis, much less the regular season.
But both Sefolosha and Harden bring skills that benefit the Thunder on both ends, and that's about all that matters to Brooks at this point.
"I think that's good," Sefolosha said Monday. "We do different things on the court, and I think it gives the coach different options depending on what he sees on the court and what kind of player he wants on the floor. That's definitely a big plus for the team."
Sefolosha is the better defender, and that has afforded him ample leeway in Brooks' book. Sefolosha routinely defended the opposing team's best player last season before earning All-Defensive Second Team honors.
"You can never discount what he brings to our team," Brooks said. "He brings toughness. He brings just a great spirit to our team. And we are a defensive-minded team, and he's one of the best defending wings."
Sefolosha became a liability on the offensive end last season because of his inability to consistently hit shots from the perimeter. Sefolosha attempted a career-high 131 3-pointers in 2009-10 but connected on just 31.3 percent. Brooks, however, said Sefolosha doesn't necessarily have to improve his shooting to keep his job.
"Sure, I'd like him to make his corner jump shots or his 3s," Brooks said. "But he's one of our best cutters and he can finish on the break... But I look at Thabo and what he does for us defensively. He can guard (point guards), (shooting guards) and (small forwards) and guard them very well. Teams have trouble scoring on him."
Harden, the 2009 No. 3 overall pick, is a much more polished offensive player. He ranked fourth on the Thunder in scoring last season at 9.9 points per game and, even as a rookie, showed a knack for playmaking. With Harden, the hurdle has always been his defense.
"We like what he does offensively," Brooks said. "He can make plays. But his defense has to improve and it has improved over last year. We just have to keep working on it."
Another factor that could lead Brooks to keeping Sefolosha in the starting lineup is the impact a change would have on the second unit. If Harden played with Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Thunder would have its four best offensive players in the first five and little scoring punch off the bench.
"You have to find scoring off the bench," Brooks said. "Or you have to change up your starting minutes a little bit and get a guy earlier rest so they can come back with the second unit. But we can score the ball. We still have to focus on stopping the ball from scoring. And then we can figure out how to score together as a team."
No matter what happens, tonight or down the road, Harden wants to continue making an impact.
"I'm just going out there and playing my game, whether I start or come off the bench," he said. "I'm just trying to bring that energy and bring game to our team and just help us win."