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News » Defense is a big priority for Brooks


Defense is a big priority for Brooks


Defense is a big priority for BrooksTraining camp is just around the corner.

In eight days, Scott Brooks will begin his first full season as a head coach.

Brooks abruptly was given the reins a week before Thanksgiving when P.J. Carlesimo was fired less than a month into the season.

Training camp will provide Brooks a chance to implement some changes he couldn't make on the fly last season.

During visits with players in their hometowns this summer, taking trips ranging from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, Brooks stressed improving defensively is his No. 1 priority.

"That's the one part we have to do is get consistent on the defensive end," said Jeff Green. "Sometimes we were lackadaisical on the defensive end, myself included. If we get consistent at that, work well together as a team, with a training camp under our belt, that will help us a lot."

But those are individual talks. Individual workouts.

Everything ratchets up next week.

Former fan favorite Desmond Mason, an NBA veteran who recently signed with Sacramento, said a full training camp is invaluable, especially for a young coach like Brooks.

"He was put in a tough situation," Mason said. "He already put in some things last season. But now he can put in his entire system. More repetitions will help. It becomes like breathing where everyone works together as a unit. You could see that late in the season."

The final three months of last season, the Thunder showed improvement under Brooks.

When Brooks took over for Carlesimo the Thunder was 1-12.

It took awhile for the improvement to show.

Oklahoma City posted an identical 1-12 record during Brooks' first month.

OKC was still only 3-29 heading into a New Year's Eve game. But the Thunder was 20-30 the remainder of the season.

Highlighted among a second-half surge was two wins over San Antonio and victories over playoff teams such as Portland, Dallas, Utah, Chicago and Detroit.

"We showcased the things that are to come, what this team is capable of if we go out there and have fun, play hard and play defense," Green said.

A week from now the foundation for the 2009-10 season will be laid.

Four weeks of training camp will be invaluable for a young team that still has much room to grow but much room to improve.

The Thunder will be the youngest team in the league with one of the youngest head coaches.

"He'll add some things as far as plays, defensive concepts and things like that," said 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant. "Just like he's learning to be a head coach, we're learning as players, too. We're all learning together.

"But having more than a half a year with Scotty, we'll come into training camp knowing what to expect. We just need to go hard from the beginning."

Key Dates

→Sept. 28 - Media Day

→Sept. 29 - Training camp begins

→Oct. 7 - Preseason opener

→Oct. 28 - Regular season opener

→Feb. 14 - All-Star Game (Dallas)

→April 14 - Regular season finale Preseason schedule

→Oct. 7 - at Memphis

→Oct. 10 - at New Orleans

→Oct. 12 - vs. Phoenix

→Oct. 14 - vs. Miami (Tulsa)

→Oct. 19 - at Houston

→Oct. 20 - vs. San Antonio (Austin)

→Oct. 22 - vs. Sacramento


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 24, 2009

 

 
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