Brooks, however, has yet to declare Harden the winner of the starting job. For all we know, Brooks' plan for Harden may just be keeping him in the sixth man role as a way to always have scoring punch he can rely on off the bench.
But based on what we know about Brooks, the lockout might be making the decision for him. The Thunder, like every other team, lost nearly a month of practice time. That time would have been integral in integrating new players and new lineups. The loss of Oklahoma City's seven-game preseason schedule, meanwhile, killed the opportunity to iron out the kinks in dress rehearsals.
Now, when the season starts, it seems likely Brooks will revert to his comfort zone. In a shortened camp and an abbreviated preseason, the coach might again reach for that consistency and continuity.
It'd be a completely rational decision and one that doesn't have to stick for an entire season. Nevertheless, it's Sefolosha who now seems destined to be penciled in as the starter on opening night.
And that would have everything to do with the lockout and little to do with Harden.
By the numbers
A look at how James Harden progressed last season.