Work Never Stops for Thunder

After 12 days of Training Camp, two preseason games and three days of practice, the Thunder has laid the groundwork to be able to handle the challenges that come its way during a condensed NBA schedule.

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks has repeated his words daily: Each of the 30 NBA teams is in the same situation; each will play 66 games over the next 17-plus weeks.

For the Thunder, that daily grind begins tonight with a Christmas Night matchup against the Orlando Magic in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tip-off is 7 p.m. and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

“Everybody’s in the same boat. You think that you need more time, you think you need to put more sets in or more defensive schemes in,” Brooks said, “but I feel confident our guys picked up things quickly. We added three or four things that they knew from last season and that helps, but they still have to play well.”

While others talk openly about the schedule and the advantages or disadvantages it creates, the Thunder goes about its preparation the same as it has in previous years. It is a franchise working toward its goal of becoming an elite organization, one that sustains long-term success by sticking to its core principles of working hard, staying humble, communicating with each other and establishing a defensive identity.

“Being an organization and a team that is focused on how we are going to go about accomplishing our goals, and not just talking about what we want to accomplish,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said in his pre-Training Camp session with the media, later adding: “We have to continue to be a team and an organization that grinds out our work every day without expectation or entitlement.”

The Thunder players understand and embrace this vision. Each player reported to camp in peak physical condition, a testament to their professionalism as well as to their teammates. They worked out individually as well as collectively -- Thunder players met as a team for voluntary four-day workouts in Lexington, Ky.; Austin, Texas; and Oklahoma City.

' That work ethic continues daily in the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center. The players compete hard against one another, pushing each other to new heights all with the goal of getting better as individuals and as a team.

“We just do our job and the next day do our job again,” Brooks said. “If you have a bunch of days like that, you’re going to have some success.”