Cook Embraces Role as Thunder's 3-point Threat
“I’m just asking him to make plays,” Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “He has to continue to do what he does well and that’s make shots.”
A former NBA Three-Point Shootout champion, Cook knows all about making shots.
Cook got off to a nice start with his new team on Friday, when he drained his first two 3-point attempts en route to a 3-for-7 showing from behind the arc against his old team, the Miami Heat.
And this came after Cook had been out of commission since Sept. 29, when he suffered concussion-like symptoms in the first week of training camp. When Cook felt well enough to play the day before the Heat game, he got a good practice in and Brooks knew he would give the shooting guard some minutes off the bench.
Cook said it didn’t take him long to find a comfort level on the court with his new teammates.
“It’s not difficult for me,” Cook said. “I’m used to always being spaced out on the floor, getting around to the positions on the floor I need to be in to allow myself to get the shot. My teammates were doing a great job, as you could see in the last game, finding me so I can get the shots up.”
The Thunder ranked 25th in the league in 3-point shooting last season, and the additions of Cook, a career 38.1 percent 3-point shooter, and Morris Peterson, who has shot 39.4 percent from behind the arc in his career, should help improve that number.
A 3-point threat that can stretch the floor and keep a defense honest could open more driving lanes to the basket and create more weak-side scoring opportunities.
“With the addition of me and Mo and KD and James already shooting the ball well, it’s going to increase a lot more shots on the perimeter, a lot more shots for us to make on the perimeter,” Cook said. “It’s just going to open up the game a lot more for KD and James, guys who like to drive to the basket. They’re not always going to be able to double them when we have a shooter like me or Mo out there. You’d rather them drive to the basket and leave us wide-open.”
We saw some of that during Friday’s loss to the Heat, when Cook positioned himself in either corner of the floor and made adjustments depending on how the defense was guarding the ball. Cook said that comes more from the players on the court creating opportunities. He said the coaching staff hasn’t added new plays for whenever he’s on the floor.
“He’s a terrific shooter and he proved that again in Kansas City,” Brooks said. “We like that. We like a guy who can come in and make shots. He has the ability to do that. His defense is improving and needs to get up to part with what we do and that’s going to take some time. But offensively, he’s as good a shooter as there is in the league.”
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