The first major decision Thunder coach Scott Brooks could face next season might have been made slightly simpler when his starting center alleviated some of the potential stickiness from the situation.
In his final interview with reporters immediately after the season, Nenad Krstic said he could adapt to a possible move to the bench.
"Yeah, definitely,” Krstic said. "But I can say only this, all my career I was a starter. So that's going to be something new for me. But, definitely, I can adjust.”
Since his rookie season in 2004-05, Krstic has started 306 of 348 regular season games. But the reason the 7-footer was answering questions about being supplanted in the starting lineup was because of the emergence of young gun Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka developed so rapidly this season that the rookie gravitated from a potential D-League assignee before the start of training camp to crunch time playoff minutes against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs. Even the man who might lose his job to Ibaka couldn't dismiss the pup's potential.
"I (haven't) seen a lot of guys 20 (years old) with that kind of confidence,” Krstic said. "He's just going to get better.”
But for the 2010-11 season, there are advantages and disadvantages to giving Ibaka the nod over Krstic.
The most obvious advantage to starting Ibaka is the opportunity it would give him to develop more rapidly. A starter's role doesn't necessarily equate to more minutes, but it does inevitably allow Ibaka to cut his teeth on better competition more regularly.
From a team standpoint, promoting Ibaka could turn an already strong defensive unit into a much more dynamic bunch.