Consistent Thunder Compartmentalizes After Every Game
Over the course of the time the Thunder has been in Oklahoma City, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club has always been consistent in its approach to each game and the way it assesses itself afterwards. The ability to compartmentalize each night and move onto the next task is essential in a league where often other teams or players ride the rollercoaster of emotions after big wins or tough losses. That’s why, after Wednesday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Thunder approached film study with the exact same attitude that it would after a win – with focus and concentration.
“We just talked about some of the technical things that we needed to work on,” Brooks said. “Being in the right space on the offensive end, helping each other out on the defensive end, just talking more… That’s when we’re really at our best when we talk the game and also play the game.”
The Thunder is only nine games into a long 82-game schedule, so it is with the long view in mind that team leaders like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins show younger or newer players how to work on their craft throughout the season. The commitment to coming into the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center or the practice floor on the road with the proper attitude day-in and day-out is essential to the growth of the team over the course of the season.
“We can’t get bored with the process,” Perkins said. “We have to make sure we continue to work and continue to do what got us to this point.”
After emotional contests, win or lose, it must be difficult to not get caught up in the outcome, but for the Thunder and it’s process-based, disciplined locker room that never becomes the focus. When leaders care solely about how the team can improve from day to day, raising the level of one another's games by mentoring young players and finding ways within the system to get better as a whole, that’s the sign of true teamwork.
“Because we’re about team,” Brooks said. “If you’re about team, that’s what you do… You’re about trying to get better, and that’s how we build our team habits. We always work on good habits. Today we watched film, we tried to correct a bunch of things that we can with the film… We’ve always been about figuring out ways to tweak what we do offensively and defensively, and it always seems to work for us.”
Earlier this year Brooks mentioned that every day when he sees players like Serge Ibaka come into the gym, he can never tell whether they had a good game or a bad game the night before. According to Brooks, other team leaders like Durant display the same quality, and those types of traits always trickle down throughout the team.
“I’ve been with (Durant) for six years now,” Brooks said. “He can have a monster, game-winning game the night before. You wouldn’t know that happened if you saw him the next morning, or vice-a-versa. He’s always the same. He just comes in the gym, does his work and he’s diligent.”
As individuals, the Thunder players are always intent on finding ways to improve their games with extra work after practice, film study or ensuring that they take care of their bodies. As a unit, there is a code amongst the Thunder players, coaching staff and basketball operations staff to uphold the values and standards set forth by leaders like Durant and Westbrook since they began their careers with the organization.
With that mentality, it’s simply the next step in the process to analyze, make adjustments and move on to the next task, which for the Thunder will be a road game against the New Orleans Hornets.
“We have to hold ourselves accountable, which we always do and just come out there and compete tomorrow,” Perkins said. “The good thing about the NBA is you move on to the next game whether it’s a win or a loss.”