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February 24, 2012

Thunder need consistency from Cook to help depth

OKLAHOMA CITY —  

The Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the best benches in the entire NBA. 

Led by James Harden, the Thunder usually have no problem outplaying its opponents' second teams.

Earlier this season, Eric Maynor went down with a season-ending knee injury. Rookie point guard Reggie Jackson has been serviceable in his absence.

Thabo Sefolosha hasn't played since late January with a foot injury, and could be out for another month.

Sefolosha's injury has reduced the depth of this Oklahoma City squad significantly.

So what should Oklahoma City do? Some would say they should trade for a veteran guard that can provide defense and timely scoring, or maybe for a better reserve point guard than the inexperienced Jackson.

Kirk Hinrich's name has been thrown around as a potentially good fit, but there is no indication that the Thunder has interest in making a move for Nick Collison's former college teammate at Kansas. 

It doesn't appear likely that Oklahoma City will be active before the trade deadline, and the loss of Maynor hasn't appeared to affect the team too badly; as of Thursday afternoon the Thunder is tied for the league's best record with the Miami Heat.

What the team needs is for some current players to step up.

One player who has a perfect opportunity to earn a bigger role is Daequan Cook.

Cook has spent his time with the Thunder as the backup guard/small forward, a part of the reserve squad that has been so successful.

But, because head coach Scott Brooks is so comfortable with Harden coming off the bench, Cook has been thrust into the starting lineup as Sefolosha's replacement.

Cook has started all of Oklahoma City's games in the month of February, and has averaged 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 13 games.

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