James Harden started in place of Sefolosha against the Clippers, and as we saw Monday night, struggled in the starter's role. Ordinarily Harden is the first man off the bench and runs the offense when Russell Westbrook takes a break. Interestingly, Brooks did not commit to saying that Harden would again be the starter tonight.
While Harden is one of the more talented players on the team, Brooks expressed concern over tampering with his second unit:
"Definitely, we've talked about it. 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."
If Harden does not start, reserve shooting guard Daequan Cook would be the most likely candidate to step in. The scenario offers both concern and opportunity; Cook seldom gets more than 15 minutes per game, so this chance to get some starter's minutes might push him to demonstrate more multi-dimensional skills than just hoisting 3-pointers. However, if Cook does start, he would be up against a pair of explosive offensive players in either Vince Carter or Jason Terry. The defensive challenge could be significant.
If the Thunder were playing a lesser team, I'd even consider sliding Reggie Jackson into the starting point guard role and shift Russell Westbrook to the two-guard slot. However, against a veteran team like the Mavericks, I think they would pounce early on the young point guard so such a move would be ill advised at this stage of Jackson's career.
Game time is in a few hours, so we will find out soon enough.