Thunder has a big piece back in Eric Maynor

COMMENTARY — Backup point guard's return from injury is as good as any free-agent pickup for the defending Western Conference champions.
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm •  Published: October 16, 2012

“We're always looking for ways to improve our team,” Brooks said. “If Reggie beats him out, it's Reggie's job. And vice versa.”

OK. And if Daequan beats out Kevin Durant, it's Daequan's job.

But the sight of Maynor back in Thunderwear, slicing up a defense after Russell Westbrook has worn it out, showed us one way the Thunder can make progress in 2013.

Even by spending money it couldn't afford, the Thunder would not have brought in a player, any position, to match the impact Maynor's return will have.

The Thunder won the West without one of the eight players who would have been in the rotation against the Heat. Derek Fisher, imported in March to provide veteran leadership and point guard relief, did the former but not the latter.

Maynor is a much more impactful player than was Fisher.

Maybe Brooks is just playing the motivation game. Pushing Jackson, who is athletic and has loads of potential and might be the backup point of the future, all the while pushing Maynor, too.

But even Brooks admits what he has in Maynor.

“He's a heady point guard,” Brooks said. “An old school point guard. He just has a good connection with all the players. Everybody seems to really enjoy playing with him. You can see it on the floor.”

Brooks calls Maynor a coach on the floor, in the locker room and in the huddle. Sounds like Fisher's persona with Maynor's game. Sounds like a ballplayer.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. 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.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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