Daequan Cook Getting His Shot

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:10 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jan 30, 2011 8:59 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Every sport has its mental blocks.

Football kickers have a tendency to dwell on missed field goals.

Baseball players get caught in batting slumps.

But the Thunder’s Daequan Cook might have just broken out of basketball’s major mental block: a shooting slump.

Before Thabo Sefolosha’s sprained knee this past week, Cook had played in only one of the Thunder’s previous 37 games.

In the past two games, Cook has played a combined 47 minutes and has scored 22 points.

Oklahoma City brought Cook in as part of a deal with the Miami Heat before the season – part of Miami clearing cap space to bring in LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

OKC had hoped Cook would help fill a desperately-needed role as a 3-point specialist. Cook was the NBA’s 2009 3-Point Shootout winner despite being injured a large part of the season.

For half the season it appeared the Thunder was out of luck.

While two games is hardly long enough to declare a turnaround, Cook appears to be turning into the shooter that Thunder GM Sam Presti saw before pulling the trigger on the deal.

In Sunday’s game against his former team – a 108-103 Miami victory – Cook played 31 minutes while starter James Harden played 28 and usual starter Thabo Sefolosha sat out his second straight game.

When Sefolosha returns from his injury, it appears OKC coach Scott Brooks will have some major math to do in divvying up a game’s worth of minutes between three capable shooting guards.

But from a team-first perspective, it’s a positive issue for the Thunder to have.

Sefolosha is expected to return for OKC’s next game. The Thunder will host New Orleans on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff.