At the end of Thursday's practice, newly acquired Thunder guard Derek Fisher remained on the court with Kevin Durant and a couple of assistant coaches.
The group was clearly trying to help Fisher get acclimated to the team's playbook.
“At the very end, (the session) was for Derek,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, “just to pick up the offense and some of the things that we do.”
Forward Nick Collison and others during Fisher's debut game Wednesday against the L.A. Clippers were instructing Fisher on the court, telling him where to be and what plays were which. Collison said the team tried to keep things simple on offense with Fisher in the game and added that Fisher's 15 years of experience should help him adapt quickly.
Fisher certainly looked comfortable, playing 19 minutes and scoring five points with one rebound and one assist. Brooks said he wasn't surprised at Fisher's success despite not having a single practice or shoot-around to settle in.
“That's who he is,” Brooks said. “He's always been a player that understands the game. You can see that last night. A lot of teams run the (same) plays with just different name calls. We didn't throw a lot of things at him, but it was enough that he was going to have some success.”
THABO SEFOLOSHA TO SEE MORE MINUTES
After saying Sunday that he wanted to limit Thabo Sefolosha's minutes for another game or two, Brooks said he thinks his starting shooting guard is now ready for more playing time.
“He can play more minutes now,” Brooks said. “He's coming along good. You're always worried when a guy misses six or seven weeks. But he came back like he's never missed a game. He's in great condition. I can see him being closer to his normal minutes.”
In his first 17 games this season, Sefolosha averaged 21.5 minutes. Since returning five games ago from a 23-game absence caused by a foot injury, Sefolosha averaged just 14.4 minutes.
COUNT THE RINGS
For two days now, players and coaches have hailed Fisher for his championship experience. With five NBA titles on his resume, Fisher gained instant credibility when he walked into the Thunder's locker room for the first time Wednesday.
“We looked up to (Kendrick Perkins) when he had one ring,” said Kevin Durant. “So to get five is just on another level. So we're just trying to soak as much information out of those guys as we can. Perk has been great for us this last year. Having Fish for just one game, he was talking to guys and encouraging guys and telling us what he sees out on the floor. After a few hours, that meant a lot to us. So I can imagine what it's going to be like for the next three or four weeks.”
MOVE OVER, MOHAMMED
Collison joked on Wednesday that Fisher's signing made Nazr Mohammed the happiest guy in the Thunder locker room.
“He's not the oldest guy on the team anymore,” Collison said.
On Thursday, Mohammed fired back.
“He's just happy he's not the second oldest,” the 34-year-old Mohammed said of Collison, 31. “He moved down a notch.”
Mohammed went on to say the more veterans the better.
“Hey, bring in another old guy,” he said. “Push me down and make me feel young. But these guys around here make me feel young anyway. We got a young team, funny guys with a lot of energy. So I feel young anyway.”
SERGE SHOWING SOME STELLAR D
After the Thunder held forward Blake Griffin to a career-low seven points on 3-for-11 shooting, much of the credit went to forward Serge Ibaka for his defensive effort on the Clippers' All-Star.
With Ibaka keeping Griffin in front of him, making him shoot contested shots and shadowing him to shut off his space on every pick and roll, the Thunder held the Clippers to just 22 paint points and limited L.A. to 36.7 percent shooting.
“That was Thunder defense right there,” Mohammed said. “We looked at the clips (Thursday) morning. Everybody was in the right rotations, everybody was helping, everybody was showing a crowd and playing physical.
“But you've got to give most of the credit to Serge and Nick. They just did an unbelievable job. Serge, that was some of the best one-one defense I've seen him play. He's had greater shot-blocking games. But as far as one-on-one post defense, that's one of the best defensive games I've seen him play. And Nick just does what he does. He fights and makes it tough on everybody. But you've got to give credit to them two.”
Brooks when told Mohammed referred to the Thunder's young players as having old souls — “Put Nazr in my shoes and let's see if he answers it that way. Old souls? It's an emotional wreck at times.”
The Thunder will face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in the second of a three-game home stand. Tip-off is scheduled for 7.