More than any other player on the Thunder, Derek Fisher has experience with what the NBA Finals are all about.
He's been seven times with the Lakers before this run with the Thunder. Five times, his team has come out on top.
But the 37-year-old isn't being aggressive in offering advice to the younger players on how to handle their first experience playing for a championship.
“I've found it better, on some levels, to allow guys to experience things for themselves in its natural state,” Fisher said. “You can't always try to tell someone what they should feel or what they should be thinking as they're getting ready to go into what may be the biggest moment of their life or their career.
“I think it's important to allow people to be who they are and experience it the way they naturally would and then as they settle in and things kind of smooth out, then you kind of go to work in offering words of advice or suggestions.”
Westbrook's thumb ‘fine'
Three days after Russell Westbrook injured his left thumb in the Game 6 win over San Antonio, Westbrook went through a full practice as the Thunder returned to the court Saturday afternoon.
“It's fine,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He's fine. He's fine. ...
“I didn't even ask really.”
Durant ready to ‘suck it up'
With just one more series remaining, Kevin Durant isn't feeling mentally run down.
“If you're mentally tired, I don't know how you can be here,” Durant said. “This is a good opportunity for a lot of players. A lot of players don't get this opportunity, so you've got to block all that out and just go out there and play.”
The end is now in clear sight for Durant and the Thunder.
“The most we can get is seven games,” Durant said Saturday afternoon. “So we've got to suck it up for seven more.
“Ask any of the three teams left and they're all sucking it up to keep going.”
Fisher remembers playing Brooks
The careers of Brooks and Fisher briefly overlapped during Fisher's first two seasons in the league.
But with Brooks playing in the Eastern Conference, with the Knicks and Cavaliers, the pair only went head to head once during the regular season.
On April 3, 1998, Fisher's Lakers beat Brooks' Cavs 105-93.
“We got after each other a little bit a couple of times,” Fisher said. “It was a scrap. You had to compete hard. It wasn't anything that was going to come easy. I was a young guy so of course he was trying to get after me and I didn't know any better, so I was going to try to get after him.”
The two didn't share the floor long, as Brooks played just four minutes in that game, finishing with two points and a pair of rebounds.
But Fisher says he remembers seeing a similarity then in the coach Brooks would become to the player he was.
“It's the same things he tries to instill in the guys now,” Fisher said. “Playing with toughness, playing with passion and playing for each other, those are the things he exemplified as a player.”
Presti returns from Chicago
Thunder general manager Sam Presti was back in Oklahoma City on Saturday after spending the last two days in Chicago at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp.
Presti and assistant general manager Troy Weaver left early Thursday morning for the last two days of the three-day camp.
The Thunder has the No. 28 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which starts at 6 p.m. June 28 in Newark, N.J.
Practice moves downtown Monday
After another scheduled practice Sunday at the Integris Health Thunder Development Center, Thunder practices will move to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday in preparation for Tuesday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Thunder will practice first Monday morning at the arena before the Eastern Conference champions take the floor for practice in the afternoon.
Keeping things in perspective
As many members of the Thunder have recently, Fisher on Saturday wore a bright green wristband for Lorelei Decker, a recent Putnam City North graduate who is undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
“It's just a subtle reminder of how to keep all of this in perspective,” Fisher said. “There's obviously a lot of focus, a lot of attention that revolves around the finals and the opportunity to win a championship and all of it is great but Lorelei and what she has experienced and will continue to experience as she battles cancer, that trumps all of this.”