Blog Entry

Coach Brooks: Thunder altercation was 'healthy'

Posted on: December 29, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 9:17 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverbrooks-westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks says that an extended verbal altercation between his two All-Stars is not a big deal.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook reportedly got into an extended "altercation" after Westbrook reportedly scolded Thabo Sefalosha for failing to shoot with an open look during a Wednesday night game against the Memphis Grizzlies

The Oklahoman reports that Brooks believes the situation was "healthy" and not something to get too worked up about.
“When you have an intense game, you're going to have arguments,” Brooks told The Oklahoman. “I have no problem with it. I think it's healthy. I think you learn from it and you get better with it. That's just part of an NBA game. We have it and other teams have it. Good teams, bad teams and average teams. I have no issues with how our guys compete. At times they get frustrated. But it's always about the team.”
Brooks sticks perfectly to the script here. One thing no NBA coach has ever said: "Gee, my locker room is torn apart because my players hate each other's guts. We're doomed."

This early in the season, and given the chippy Westbrook's chippy personality, he said exactly what needed to be said. If there's a legit argument between the two players, it will be become more apparent before for too long and nothing Brooks says now will matter. If it winds up being something that does blow over, then Brooks handles this correctly by preaching unity and backing his two stars.

Using the word "healthy" alongside "intense," "compete" and "frustrated" was a particularly good choice. The most damaging scenario for the Thunder is that the often-emotional Westbrook gets written off as not being a part of the team concept or, worse, he gets labeled a "hothead" who is out for self. Brooks' word choice works to defuse that thinking which is critically important, because Westbrook refused to take questions from the media after the game.

Handling this thing in-house is the best play for Brooks, but his public reassurances need to come with a private reminder to Westbrook of his obligations to the media and his team. Ducking out not only makes Westbrook look bad, it potentially complicates an already tense situation. A one-time allowance can be made given that Westbrook arguably had one of the worst games of his career, shooting 0-for-13, but much more is asked of stars in the NBA. At the top of the list is composure and accessibility, especially under the media spotlight.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2011 3:02 pm

Coach Brooks: Thunder altercation was 'healthy'

Its not blown out of porportion That kid westbrook does not like being number 2. They fought all last year during the playoffs. OKC Make a run at howard or your gonna lose westbrook for nothing this off season. He will sign with another team mark my words he hates OKC have you ever talked to him. Moving a califoria Kid to oklahoma will never work.

Since: Dec 30, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:08 am
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Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:03 am

Coach Brooks: Thunder altercation was 'healthy'

This is being blown way out of proportion. 

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 29, 2011 7:40 pm

Coach Brooks: Thunder altercation was 'healthy'

A casual observer must respect both Durant and Westbrook as very talented players. Of course Durant is coming off two scoring titles, two All-NBA selections and two All-Star appearances. Westbrook? Yes, he was an All-Star and a second team All-NBA last year. But more than one observer noted the lost opportunities by OKC when Westbrook chose to drive and miss rather than pass to an open Durant. This year Durant has competition for the scoring title as LeBron has chosen to intensify his game. Without assists from Westbrook he will have trouble repeating. Does this matter> I never underestimate the ego of a star, even Kevin Durant.

What the Thunder is still sorting out is the question of leadership. Westbrook is the point guard and normally the natural leader. However he has two things keeping him from being accorded that title. One is his own play, inconsistent and moody at times. The other is Durant who clearly outshines Westbrook. It is early in both men's careers. I see no reason why they cannot continue to play together and to succeed. The Oklahoma fans sure hope so, even if they don't admit being worried.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 6:00 pm
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