Head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder Scott Brooks joined the Mike Wise show to discuss sweeping the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. He also discussed the seven game suspension of Lakers forward Metta World Peace elbow to the head of the 2011-2012 NBA sixth man of the year James Harden. 

(On who is playing Kobe in the workouts)
“We will wait. We’re just kind of working through our practice, trying to get better ourselves then we’ll prepare. If they (Lakers) win tonight, we’ll prepare for the Lakers for sure tomorrow.”

(On leading Delta College to a JUCO California state title)
“I hate to say this, a year before they won the state title we were ranked number one all season long when I was there and we lost in the state tournament. But it was a great experience. Junior college basketball in California was really good back then.”

(Comparing Kevin Durant’s game to Mike Wise’s game?)
“(Laughter) A lot of similarities, other than Kevin does like to play defense.”

(On the areas that Durant has matured in)
“His leadership, he’s such a nice young man. His parents did of raising him, he’s so respectful, he loves to be coached, loves his teammates. Early in his career, and it’s not his fault, it’s just that it takes time it’s a progression. He was only 19 his first year so it took him a while to really get comfortable in himself, to lead and talk and even to get on guys.  He does that, he knows how to do that now in his fifth year but he’s still only 23 and he’s still learning that part of the game. As a basketball player, I it’s just the game has slowed down a little bit for him. He’s an amazing player, he’s an incredible scorer, he’s a selfless player, he wants to make his teammates better and he’s learning that part of the game. Like I tell him this year, he’s turned the ball over more times than I would like and he would like but a lot of his turnovers were trying to find his teammates. A lot of his turnovers last year were (him) just going too fast and getting charges and trying to score for himself but this year his turnovers is trying to find his teammates. I think next year he will maybe even wipe half of those turnovers out because things will even slow down for him.”

(On breaking into the NBA as an undrafted free agent with the Barkley led 76ers)
“I look back at my career, I played over a decade, I just think – sometimes I get emotional, I’m like ‘how did I make it?’ I’m coaching these guys that are so much better and athletic, quicker, stronger, bigger but I made it and I made it for a long time.  I think I just look back and it was special. Jimmy Lynam gave me my first opportunity as the head coach in Philadelphia. I’ve had incredible teammates along the way, all the teams I’ve played for. I’m very thankful for my career and I’m really excited I was able to play that long and now that I’m coaching I really look back on it and just say wow, what an incredible time in my life.”

(On winning a championship with the  Houston Rockets)
“I got traded in the middle of the second championship run they had.  The first championship we beat New York in seven.”

(On the greatest player he’s ever played with)
“Olajuwon, what he did, he had MVP years. Barkley, what he did at six foot four and a half, it was just phenomenal what he would do defensively, rebounding the ball, scoring on the big guys. Patrick (Ewing) was so tough and he gave everything to his team. Jason Kidd, played with him in Dallas. There’s so many great players I played with but the common denominator all of them had they worked. They worked extremely hard, they had all of the talent but they worked that talent everyday.”

(Comparing to Durant to the greats.)
“I think Durant is probably the best scorer that I’ve been associated with. He scores in so many different ways and the thing I tell people this and they say no way, he has two or three more levels of getting even better at the scoring end of the floor. His strength is improving; he’s going to be able to post up. This year he has a little bit but next year and the year after that he’s going to be able to post up much better.”

(On Metta World Peace vs. Harden and the Thunders’ composure)
“I give a lot of credit to our guys. I never use this as an excuse but we are a young team but we don’t act our age. Our guys are very mature; Russell is only 23, James Harden is 22, Serge Ibaka is 22, Reggie Jackson is 21, Kevin is 23. We have a young team but we keep our composure in big moments and I tell the guys you have to. We are all professionals; we have to act it every time on and off the court. We will win with class, we will lose with class and that’s what the game is about.  We have to set an example for ourselves, the people that follow us. But that incident, that was unfortunate that it did happen but I will say this, thank goodness that James got out of it healthy. That was dangerous play, unfortunate it happened but we’ve moved on. We’re just focusing on getting him back and he was back a couple of games later and just continue to play good. We didn’t play great basketball at the beginning of the year but we were still working some things out. I thought we had a great series against Dallas and they’re not an easy team to play against.”

(On whether MWP’s six game suspension was fair)
“I have a lot of respect for David Stern, what he’s done for this league. He’s done an incredible job ever since I’ve been in over twenty years. I respect their decision, we were just focused on getting James back and getting our team back together. Focusing on finishing strong and having a good run in the playoffs.”

(Wise tells Brooks he’s so politically correct with his answers)
“(Jokingly)”Way to call me out on that. This is the last time I’m going on your show, that’s it. This is the last five minutes.”

(On maintaining a healthy balance with Russell Westbrook’s edge)
“First of all I like toughness, I can’t coach guys that are soft. I can’t do it I get so frustrated, I don’t want to be around them. I love toughness, I love guys that are going to compete, they’re going to play with passion and they’re going to leave everything out on the floor. You’re not going to win every game but you’re going to give it everything you have and in the end of the game if they are the better team you shake their hand and you move on.  Russell, he plays hard on both ends and he leaves everything out. He gets a lot of criticism but I love what he’s done. He’s taken us to the playoffs three years in a row as the point guard of our team. Kevin’s led the league in scoring three times. (Westbrook) gets criticized about this a lot, that he doesn’t pass the ball, can he become a better passer? Absolutely but our whole team can be a better passing team. That’s on me that I’m trying to get this team to be a better passing team because I know passing wins championships as much as defense does. But Kevin has led the league in scoring three times and what do people want? They want him to lead it by ten points a game? That doesn’t happen. He’s a great point guard, he’s only going to get better and he’s got another level or two of improvement.”

(On the success he’s had thus far in his career)
“Mike I’m very fortunate. I’m blessed. I’ve got a lot of good things happen to me and I have an incredible family, a beautiful wife and kids. I got two kids that I adore. They’re obviously the focal point of my life and the basketball has been so good. I’ve had a thrill as a player and just making it to the NBA. Even when I got cut that first year that was fun because it gave me more toughness to just get out there and get it the next year. Then to stay for the many years I’ve had, that’s always tough to do but I loved every minute of it. I love coaching, I came in as an assistant and worked my way up now I’m a head coach.”

(On if he ever thought he’d  get a head-coaching job)
“At that point I just wanted to make sure that I wanted to get into coaching because I didn’t want to put my family through this wild ride most coaches and their families go through. So I coached two years in the minor leagues just to make sure I had the passion, I was ready to really do it one hundred percent. I knew I had it, I just wanted to make sure then I went on to be an assistant coach and now I’m coaching some of the best players in the world. I’m having a great time, we got a good group of guys to coach.”


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