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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-10-16

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-10-16

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-10-16Some are talking playoffs in Oklahoma City this season. As much as coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti want to avoid the subject, the preciousness of a young team with grand, if still unrealistic expectations, can't be suppressed.

"That's every team's goal," budding Thunder start Kevin Durant said of the postseason. "That's one goal we have in mind, but we've got to tell each other to take it a day at a time and get better. That's what we're looking forward to. That's what Scotty's been preaching to us these last couple of years is to always take it a day at a time, each practice and never take steps back."

Getting into the top eight in the Western Conference for a squad that won 23 games last season does appear next to impossible. Even sticking to the trite "one day at a time" approach, it appears the Thunder have too much ground to make up and too much inexperience to overcome.

Still, the franchise's foundation is loaded with enough potential to make Presti's contemporaries drool. Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook are the most talked pieces of a roster that continues to improve.

Presti acquired Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic last season, and both immediately stepped into the rotation. Reclamation project Shaun Livingston is all upside and little risk. Second-year guys Kyle Weaver and D.J. White, plus rookie James Harden (fourth overall pick), Byron Mullens and Serge Ibaka are promising youngsters. Brooks knows what he's getting out of vets like Nick Collison, Kevin Ollie and Etan Thomas.

"I'm looking forward to our team taking another step," said Brooks, 22-47 as interim coach last season. "We feel that we've had a great summer, guys are getting better and guys will continue to get better. Our focus will be continue to improve every day.

"Every day in practice, every shoot-around, every game, every film session is to get better. That's been my mentality since I've taken over and that will always be our mentality as a team. I believe in our guys."

And they believe they're destined to do more than just make a modest five-to-10 game improvement in the win column. Realistically, that's all the front office can reasonably expect. Just don't fault the players on wanting more.

COACHING STAFF: Head Coach -- Scott Brooks, 2nd year overall, 2nd year with Thunder (22-47). Assistants -- Ron Adams, Maurice Cheeks, Rex Kalamian, Mark Bryant, Brian Keefe.

LAST SEASON, REMEMBERED: 23-59 (5th in Northwest).

THIS SEASON, PREDICTED: 34-48 (4th in Northwest).

POSSIBLE CHANGES, PREDICTED: General manager Sam Presti is always looking to upgrade the roster, but he likely will resist the temptation to make a major move. Expect small deals that either add picks or more financial flexibility down the line.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 16, 2009


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