So Nick Collison’s replacement in the rotation while he’s out with an injury is … Daequan Cook?
That was the case Wednesday at least on opening night, and I doubt the rotation is anywhere close to set, Collison or no Collison, this early in the year. But Scott Brooks’ decision to go with Cook off the bench was significant for a number of reasons.
The Thunder played 14:51 minutes of small-ball in the 106-95 win against the Bulls by my unofficial count. The Thunder was +6 on the scoreboard in that time span. Perhaps more significantly, Oklahoma City played 8:01 of that small-ball with Kevin Durant in the game at power forward and was +10.
The small-ball came in two spurts bridging the quarters in each half. Cook replaced Jeff Green at the 2:03 mark of the first quarter with the Bulls up 25-23. The Thunder had a lineup of Eric Maynor, Cook, James Harden, Durant and Serge Ibaka. Green subbed for Durant with the Thunder up by six about three minutes into the second quarter, and Westbrook eventually replaced Maynor before Oklahoma City went to a more traditional lineup with 5:58 left in the half. The Thunder had a 43-42 lead for a net gain of three points in about eight minutes of small-ball. Keep Reading…