Up until his 25th birthday, Nick Collison couldn’t relate to what it was like to play for a losing basketball team.
In high school, playing for his father at Iowa Falls, the Collisons’ teams finished 101-1.
At Kansas, the Jayhawks averaged 28 wins during his four seasons. Collison played in two Final Fours, highlighted by a national runner-up finish his senior season.
Even in the NBA, after sitting out the first season after surgeries on both shoulders, Collison’s debut was on a team that won 52 games, finished with a league-best 26-15 road record and was the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
That’s a stark contrast to the past four seasons, when he played for a rebuilding SuperSonics/Thunder franchise that combined for 219 losses.
Collison understands why it happened. He understands general manager Sam Presti’s long-range plan — tear it down by trading Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis and build toward the future with youth.
But being a coach’s son, Collison knows every team ultimately is judged by its win-loss record.
"We’ve had a lot of experimentation the past couple of years with changes in our organization,” Collison said. "They’ve done a good job. But we have to change the mind-set to where we don’t accept losing. It’s no longer a period where we’re trying things out.”
The veteran 6-foot-10 power forward isn’t talking playoffs-or-bust. He was encouraged by the Thunder’s 20-30 record the final 50 games.