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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-09-18

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-09-18

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-09-18There's a growing sentiment to tab the Kevin Durant-led Thunder as a possible surprise team in the Western Conference based on the last season's second-half improvement. As general manager Sam Presti cautions, though, this is all part of a process.

This team was last in the Northwest Division and 13th overall in the 15-team West at 23-59. That can't be forgotten.

The process is going to take years, just as it did in Portland, Atlanta and with other franchises that had to tear everything down before becoming relevant again. In some ways, Oklahoma City lost a year going through its final lame-duck season in Seattle.

Franchise stability can't be ignored in the process. Making a home in Oklahoma City and allowing roots to grow are vital. Renovations are under way at the Ford Center, which include a new locker room. Ground was broken on a state-of-the-art practice and training facility to open next year. Players not only need to know where they stand, but where their team sits in relation to the other 29.

Among the other positives: Thunder coach Scott Brooks will have a full training camp, the young guns are a year older and more experienced, next June brings another two first-round picks (five draft picks total) and the Thunder still have financial and roster flexibility to make a big move.

But if some of the Thunder players start talking playoffs, it's easy to understand their enthusiasm.

"Everyone's goal is to make the postseason and I would never put any limitations on our players in terms of their goals and drive," Presti said. "Those are the reasons we have them in our uniforms."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: September 18, 2009


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