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News » Thunder's Brooks faces big task

Thunder's Brooks faces big task

Thunder's Brooks faces big task
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Since his early playing days, Scott Brooks has wanted to be an NBA coach in the worst way.

Mission accomplished.

Hired last Saturday to replace the fired P.J. Carlesimo, Brooks' Oklahoma City Thunder took an NBA-worst 1-15 record and 13-game losing streak into Friday night's game against the Timberwolves.

Even so, Brooks said before the game he had no reservations about taking the interim job, at the time or since.

"Not at all," he said. "You don't have time to think of any other thing other than trying to win the next game or prepare your team the best way you know how. I understand this is a process that's going to take a lot of hard work and effort. That's what really excites me.

"I'm not naive enough to think that my first job is going to be a team that has a chance to win 65 games. That's highly unlikely. But the opportunity that I have is a good one. I believe in our guys. I just have to continue to work with them and improve them individually and as a team."

Brooks, who played two seasons for the Wolves from 1991-93, said he was grateful to Carlesimo for bringing him in as an assistant last season and didn't go into this season thinking he would get the head coaching job.

Take it from him, viewed from that seat, it's a whole new ballgame.

"There's no question it's different," he said. "It's definitely different. The experience you get helps every game. I'm not here to say I know it all and 10 years from now I'm going to still be learning the game and learning how to manage the game and manage the players. I'm putting my time in. I want to get better. I need to improve. And that's the same mentality I'm taking with our team also."

Brooks, 43, is one of a number of current coaches who played on those early Wolves teams, along with college assistants Doug West (Villanova) and Tod Murphy (UC Irvine), to name just two.

The fact that all were backup players who had to fight and scrape to hack out a career might have had something to do with that.

"It's very common that guys that are backup players or guys that have played minor leagues, they have to think the game differently," Brooks said. "They're not given a lot of opportunities to be the man on the team."

Oh, and one more thing.

"We never made the money that the starters made," Brooks said, laughing. "No, I'm kidding. Waking up every morning and playing Basketball and coaching Basketball is a great life. We all love the opportunities that we've been given."

Pressure's on: The Thunder's losing streak put some added pregame pressure on the Wolves, the only team to have lost to Oklahoma City this season.

"Our guys have to have an understanding of what this game's going to be about," coach Randy Wittman said. "I don't think there's any pressure. You have to have that understanding of where they're at. They're like a wounded animal. They're going to be desperate, and they're going to play desperate. We have to know that. We can't just play this game like a regular game."

Briefly: The Thunder have gone to a smaller lineup under Brooks, but Wittman said that wouldn't change his starting five.

Guard Kevin Ollie (calf) was inactive for the fifth consecutive game.

Scott Brooks

Randy Wittman

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 29, 2008


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