Admit it, Thunder fans, you've asked the question. What has this team done to get better? Maybe you mulled it during the NBA Draft or when free agency opened. Perhaps you considered it when the team reported for training camp or played its exhibition games. No shame in any of that; everyone wants to know if this team is better.
It only seems fair, Thunder fans, to ask the same question of you. What have you done to get better? Everyone expects the players and the coaches to improve every year. Why not the fans? Sure, Thunder fans, you had one of the best attendance averages in the league despite having one of the worst teams a year ago. You've also been called some of the best in the NBA, but even the best can improve. Didn't Michael Jordan always come back with something new in his arsenal? Isn't Kobe Bryant always looking to add a new wrinkle to his game? Surely Thunder fans can make the Ford Center atmosphere even better. “This may sound corny, but I don't think they can improve,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “What they did last year — sticking with us when we were on the bad start — our players appreciate that. “I don't know if they can get much better, but if they can, I'll love to see it.” Well, that's a nice thing to say, but he's the coach of this team. He wants the fans on his side. What about someone not on the Thunder payroll? “I love it here in Oklahoma, where the fans stand until the Thunder scores the first hoop,” said Al McCoy, who is about to begin his 38th season as the radio announcer for the Phoenix Suns. Here's a guy who knows a thing or two about good crowds; Phoenix is widely regarded as having one of the best home-court atmospheres in the NBA. “They make a tremendous difference,” McCoy said. “They can really lift, I think, a team.” Did the NBA send out a league-wide memo — “Please say nice things about Oklahoma City?” The truth is, there weren't many games a season ago where you could say that the Ford Center crowd made a huge difference in the outcome of a game. Twenty-two games went into the fourth quarter with the score within 10 points or less; the Thunder won nine of those games. Then again, that was a team that won only 23 games.