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OKC Thunder still has work to do

Even after clinching a 60-win season and the West's top seed, OKC focuses on its growth, knowing the playoffs are about to begin.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 16, 2013

“Our consistency of just staying focused during an NBA season, which is hard,” Brooks said. “There are so many times that you can get distracted. There's so many times that you can get sideways. But we've always stayed together. We've always focused on us. But just that consistent approach is hard to do. But I'm proud that we've done it.”

Along the way, we've seen marked development, from Kevin Durant on down the line. All of it is expected to enable the Thunder to make another deep playoff run.

Durant has become as efficient as ever and created more scoring chances for teammates. He's also become a better and more vocal leader.

Westbrook has picked up the slack left by Harden as a playmaker and blossomed into as much of a focal point for opponents as Durant with his fearlessness and fervent hustle.

Thabo Sefolosha has solidified his 3-point shot, and his best season from behind the arc has been a huge boost to the team's historically average perimeter shooting.

Serge Ibaka has expanded his offensive repertoire, Reggie Jackson has grown confident as a ballhandler and finisher at the rim and Kendrick Perkins has supplied critical low-post defense all season.

And you can't ignore Kevin Martin. The team's most unassuming player has been unsung all season but one of the Thunder's biggest factors in the franchise moving forward. Martin, after averaging at least 20 points as a go-to guy for five of the past six seasons, willingly accepted a lesser role all year for the greater good. He averaged just 10.1 shots and 14 points, the lowest totals since his second season.

“You've got to give credit to Kevin Martin, the way he blended with the team and has been playing for us since Day One,” said Sefolosha. “And the rest of the guys, everybody has been doing a conscious effort of keep improving for the better of the team.”

The conference's best record and the first 60-win season that Oklahoma City has ever seen has been the result.

It's all worthy of celebrating, even if the Thunder cannot.

“I mean, that's tough to do,” Westbrook said. “So you've got to be proud of that.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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LEAPS AND BOUNDS

A look at the Thunder's year-by-year improvement since the inaugural 2008-09 season.

YEAR;RECORD;WINNING PERCENTAGE

2008-09;23-50;.280

2009-10;50-32;.610

2010-11;55-27;.671

2011-12;47-19;.712

2012-13;60-21;.741

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