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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Notes, Quotes 2009-01-10

Oklahoma City Thunder Notes, Quotes 2009-01-10

Oklahoma City Thunder Notes, Quotes 2009-01-10
--G Chucky Atkins felt slighted when he went undrafted out of South Florida in 1996. The Thunder's new backup point guard is playing for his eighth team in 10 years.

"I thought I was one of the better guards coming out of the 1996 draft," Atkins said after arriving in Oklahoma City. "And for some odd reason I just didn't get drafted. I could have easily given up and gave up the game of basketball, but I kept striving and fighting to try to make it."

His route to the NBA included a stint in the CBA and in Croatia. Buried on the bench in Denver, he's expected to have a significant role with the Thunder. Part of it involves mentoring rookie point guard Russell Westbrook.

"(Atkins) gives us an outside shooter, a veteran presence," Scott Brooks said. "And talking to him, he loves that role that he will have. He will have the opportunity to talk to our younger guys and help them along the way. He's been in the league for a lot of years and he understands tendencies. So he can help in a lot of areas."

--Considering the team's record, it should be expected that the Thunder's rotation remain fluid. The only three players with clearly defined roles are starting forwards Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, and point guard Russell Westbrook.

Scott Brooks has plenty of choices from there. Chucky Atkins has been added to the guard mix that includes Earl Watson, Desmond Mason, Kyle Weaver and Damien Wilkins. Nenad Krstic joins Robert Swift, Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith and Nick Collison as frontcourt options.

"There are 15 guys on every NBA team and they all feel they should play," Brooks said. "I was a player. I understand the mentality of players. They would rather have 100 teams and five players to a team. You want guys who want to play, but there's only 240 minutes you can spread out."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have to get stops in the fourth quarter. We have to learn to get good shots in the fourth quarter and not make turnovers in the fourth quarter. We still have to learn to close things out in the fourth quarter." -- Coach Scott Brooks after a 98-96 loss Friday to Houston.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 10, 2009


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