Thunder Gearing Up for Training Camp
Most Thunder fans know that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden represented Team USA in the Olympics while Serge Ibaka competed for Spain, but that group also had time to go through their normal workout routines that have helped them develop over the years. The value of training with the national teams and working on their games at the international level only helped the Thunder quartet improve heading into next season, but they are excited to transfer what they learned into their practice efforts in Oklahoma City with their teammates.
“It was a great experience for me being in the Olympics,” Ibaka said. “I think I learned a lot and it was very fun. Right now I’m looking forward to start working for my team the Oklahoma City Thunder for next season to try to get better.”
Whether it was playing in summer league or training on their own throughout July and August, the rest of the Thunder also stayed busy. For instance, guard Daequan Cook spent most of his time at the Integris Health Thunder Development Center this summer, working with guard Eric Maynor as he rehabbed from last January’s season-ending knee injury.
“Basically just working out, staying in shape,” Cook said. “I changed my diet a little bit here and there. Just being consistent, I’ve been in the weight room, getting a lot of on-court work going. I’ve been working a lot with Eric Maynor this summer.”
Many veteran players stuck to their time-tested routines, as Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison both confirmed. Collison spent his summer training and playing a lot of organized, five-on-five basketball with other professional basketball players. The smart and steady forward joined NBA players Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy, Spencer Hawes and numerous players who play overseas gathered to work out together.
“It’s a much shorter summer this year playing in the Finals which is obviously a good thing,” Collison said. “I worked out like I always do and probably played more pick-up this summer than I normally have in the past… I had a good summer, a short summer, but it was real positive for me.”
In between all of that working out, Ibaka, Sefolosha, Collison and third-year center Cole Aldrich all joined up for some beneficial off-court work in South Africa in August, helping out with the Basketball Without Borders program. That didn’t stop Aldrich from spending quite a bit of time training in his home state of Minnesota and in Oklahoma working out with the coaches after playing in summer league. When thunder.nba.com caught up with Aldrich, he was finishing up his trip to South Africa and getting ready to hit the gym once again.
“I’ve really just been working out,” Aldrich said. “The summer is short, it’s been positive. It’s one of those things, it’s been so short, you’re really excited to get back. After Africa, I’m going to take one day and get back to Oklahoma and get ready for training camp.”
Each Thunder player is held accountable for their offseason work by their teammates, who as General Manager Sam Presti has noted, continue to set the internal standards for high levels of work ethic. Perhaps one of the most important tasks Thunder players are also charged with is helping new teammates progress and learn how to play Thunder basketball. At summer league, it was rookie Perry Jones working with Reggie Jackson and Lazar Hayward, and another new addition, Hasheem Thabeet, spent time with his fellow Thunder big men in order to get up to speed.
“I’ve been working out with MB (Mark Bryant), Cole, (Kendrick) Perkins and all the other guys on the team,” Thabeet said. “Just trying to get acclimated and know what the team wants, what they do and things like that. So far it’s been great.”