Thabo Sefolosha will miss his third game this season and second consecutive one sitting out tonight against the Mavericks with a sore foot.
And in his place? Well, we don’t really know that yet, because Scott Brooks is still thinking about it. Via the Oklahoman:
Although Brooks did not say that Harden struggles stemmed solely from being in the starting lineup, the coach did admit that he has concerns about tampering with Harden’s role as it possibly could continue to throw off the team’s chemistry. Brooks said it’s a situation that the coaching staff is “looking at very closely.”
“Definitely, we’ve talked about it,” Brooks said. “We’re trying to work through it. I don’t know what we’ll do tonight. But there’s definitely concern because that second unit’s been really good. It’s been changed a few times even with Eric (Maynor) being out.”
The option is to start Daequan Cook and leave Harden in his normal role off the bench. That keeps Harden in a place he’s become comfortable, anchoring that second unit.
This type of thinking is really coming from the fact OKC is 0-2 with Thabo and that Harden scored just seven points on 2-10 shooting against the Clippers. He barely touched the ball in the first quarter playing alongside Durant and Westbrook and clearly looked to be having trouble finding his place in the offense.
“He didn’t play well,” Brooks said at shootaround. “But he could have had that game off the bench. You’re not going to play well every night. I thought last game he didn’t have the energy on the defensive end and James has really improved in that area. I talked to him about it. He has to come with it on that side of the floor because it helps him on the other side of it.”
Said KD: “We got to find him and let [Harden] bring the ball up sometimes. We got to run some plays for him,” Durant said. “I know it’s tough for him starting with me and Russell since we anchor that first lineup. We just got to sacrifice some shots and some touches for James to get going because we’re going to need him to bring basketball games.”
It’s a bit reactionary to say Harden can’t start, but the evidence from Monday is a little hard to completely dismiss. I would imagine Brooks is still going to start Harden because that’s the been the play in the past when Thabo has missed a game, but the fact it’s a decision is something to watch.