“Things are going a little fast for him,” said Brooks following the Thunder’s 110-104 victory over the Rockets. “Rookies are going to take their lumps. That’s just how it is. This is going to be a growing year for him. But he’s a great player. He’s going to be just fine.”
For defensive advice, Westbrook has leaned on veteran Desmond Mason, arguably the Thunder’s best man defender. Mason has advised the rookie to learn what opponents do best and try to take away those skills.
“Once you figure those things out you have a better chance of stopping guys,” Mason said.
Westbrook has impressed his teammates and coaches with his aggressiveness. Coach P.J. Carlesimo said he expects Westbrook to settle in much more over the next week with extended practice time, something the Thunder didn’t have much of when its preseason schedule began with five games in seven nights.
“I know I can do better,” Westbrook said. “Every play, I’m trying to learn stuff whether I’m watching the game or playing. This is all learning right now. You’d rather get (the mistakes) out right now and learn as much as you can in the preseason and by watching film before playing the first game on the 29th.”