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Thunder's big men have a chance to shine

With starting center Kendrick Perkins recovering from injury, Cole Aldrich, Daniel Orton and Hasheem Thabeet will see plenty of preseason minutes, giving them a chance to battle for the backup job.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 2, 2012

Thabeet and Orton, who played at Bishop McGuinness, both have had disappointing starts to their careers. But the Thunder is hoping to resurrect the skills that once made both so dominant in previous levels.

“It's not fair for me to really say what they do well and what they don't do,” Brooks said of Thabeet and Orton. “We're just working with both. Both of those guys have a clean slate, and then we're just trying to see what they do and how they can affect, in a positive way, our team.”

After the first day of practice, teammates were most impressed with the energy level of the trio. Still, it was just one day.

“They had a good first day,” said Nick Collison. “They played with energy, which is big. But it's just the first day. You've got to do it all year long.”

It should help Aldrich, Thabeet and Orton that Brooks plans on rotating each of them into the lineup throughout this preseason to get them minutes with the starting unit. None have experienced extended minutes with as much talent as they will this preseason, and that is expected to help their development.

Though it is believed that Aldrich will get the bulk of the minutes with the first string, Brooks didn't reveal his plan for juggling the starts or the minutes throughout the preseason.

“They all will probably get opportunities to play with the starters,” Brooks said. “It just depends how we go exhibition game to exhibition game. But they will get plenty of minutes and get opportunities.”

Durant, for one, thinks they're ready to make the most of the opportunity.

“I think those guys are ready to step in,” Durant said. “We've got a long ways to go before we start having preseason games. But these practices are going to help those guys and give them confidence. Hopefully they step in and fill the void while Perk is out.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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