Thunder notebook: Teammates see improvement in Russell Westbrook

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: October 26, 2009 at 4:40 am •  Published: October 26, 2009
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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook finished the preseason tied for second with Phoenix’s Steve Nash in total assists with 54. But Westbrook and Nash tied for first in average assists with 7.7 because Golden State’s Baron Davis played one more game than Westbrook and Nash.

"He’s improved his game,” center Nenad Krstic said of Westbrook. "He’s looking for his teammates. I know if I set a good screen and I’m open I’m going to get the ball. Last year, in the beginning, it was not (like that) because we didn’t know each other. Now, he knows where I’m going to be and I know he’s going to pass me the ball. So it’s been really good playing with him.”

Durant displays more versatility

Throughout the Thunder’s seven preseason games, Kevin Durant turned heads by showing more of an all-around offensive game. After being primarily a 3-point shooter in his rookie year, Durant improved his mid-range game and got to the free-throw line more last season.

But in addition to his 3-point shooting and mid-range game, Durant is now showing he’s added a better post game and is better at taking his man off the dribble.

"He’s a special player offensively, and he can score in so many different spots,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "I like to sprinkle him along the court in different spots and not let a team get tuned into one area. He has worked on his strength all summer long, and it’s showing ... He’s a great threat that we have, and we utilize him as much as we can.”

High praise from a veteran