Thunder notebook: James Harden to handle the ball more?

Harden showed in the Western Conference Finals, when he averaged 14.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting along with six rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals, that he could be a threat as a playmaker as well as a scorer.

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: December 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm •  Published: December 12, 2011
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Thunder coach Scott Brooks has yet to address roles or whether he will make any changes to his starting lineup. But one change this season could be how much guard James Harden has the ball in his hands.

Harden showed in the Western Conference Finals, when he averaged 14.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting along with six rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals, that he could be a threat as a playmaker as well as a scorer.

“I think he will have his fair opportunity,” Brooks said. “I don't know (about) more as a percentage or time-wise, but I expect him to make plays for us. He's a terrific triple threat. He can shoot, he can drive and he can pass.”

IVEY GETS DEGREE

Just days before the start of training camp, guard Royal Ivey received his degree from the University of Texas. Ivey, who turns 30 on Dec. 20, was a four-year player for the Longhorns from 2000-04 but took incompletes in his final semester to focus on draft preparation.

He was all smiles on Monday as he shared what he got his degree in: Applied learning and development/ youth and community studies with a minor in social work.

“It took me long enough,” Ivey joked.

Ivey, though, said he had always planned on finishing up.

“For one, I promised myself that I was going to finish,” Ivey said. “And I promised my mom. (My family) really stresses education. My mom's a school teacher. My grandmother's a school teacher. So I come from a lineage of school teachers and it was important that I got my education.

“When I have kids, I want to be able to say, ‘Yeah, I played in the NBA, but I also had my degree.' So it's a great feeling.”

IBAKA SATISFIED WITH SPAIN STINT

Forward Serge Ibaka made good use of his time during the lockout by signing with Real Madrid in Spain. Ibaka signed with the team in late October and averaged 5.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and two blocked shots while playing 14.3 minutes a night in six games.



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