Thunder Learns With Each Passing Day
It’s not typical for the Thunder to go through a rough spell like it has over the past week, but throughout an NBA season, natural slippage in performance occurs for every team, every season.
The key for each team, including Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club, is to rely on its collective competitiveness, experience and principles to get back on the winning track. Those three factors, especially the first one, are always present for the Thunder, because even Wednesday night after the game, players were chomping at the bit to get back out on the floor.
“We’ve always had a competitive group,” Brooks explained. “Very rarely do we lose a couple games in a row, but when we do, we want to get back out there and put ourselves back in the win column.”
The road back to victory for the Thunder always starts with the work it puts in as a group, which was on display Thursday during the team’s session at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center. The day started with a film session to breakdown some of the team’s miscues over the last three games on the defensive end, then ended with some work on the practice floor as a unit. All season long the Thunder has been one of the elite defensive teams in the league, and Thursday’s practice was all about getting back to that style of play.
“We had a good film session,” Brooks said. “We focused on areas we have to improve on. Those are the same areas where we have been really good throughout the year. At times during the season you have some slippage and you have to correct it. We had a good day to dial in on what we need to do defensively.”
For veterans and less experienced players alike, film sessions and practices like Thursday’s are a perfect way to get a fuller understanding of what the problems and solutions are on the court. Experiencing the game in real time or even from the bench is to feel it at warp speed compared to the ability to look at the tape frame-by-frame, then get out on the practice floor and walk it through.
Team leaders like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison have all been a part of the Thunder’s process over the past six years that has bred on-court success, with the understanding that these film sessions and practices are critical to improvement.
In particular for less experienced players who are still relied upon in the rotation like Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson and Perry Jones, the opportunity to match what the coaching staff is describing to a visual image is remarkable. As the Thunder continues to develop its players and team over the course of the season, each practice, film room visit and lesson with the coaching staff is extremely valuable.
“It’s definitely helpful because when you’re playing you have your own perception of what you look like and what it looks like,” Adams explained. “It’s a big reality check when you watch yourself on TV. You find out what your mistakes are and understand what the coaches are trying to say.”
“It’s great to be able to learn from your mistakes,” Lamb said. “When somebody says you’re doing something wrong or saying you’re doing it, it’s always good to see it on tape. We benefited from it today and really learned.”