More than four months have passed since the Thunder’s season finale, and Oklahoma City has made one trade and signed just one free agent to aid its efforts of building on last year’s 23-win campaign.
Three rookies have been added through the draft, and the only other roster improvements have been of the addition by subtraction variety. Talk about a long and lackluster offseason. And yet OKC thinks things couldn’t be going any better. Big-name free-agent signings and blockbuster trades annually get fans charged for the season during these dog days. Help facilitate a faster turnabout, too. But the Thunder has held firm in its slow-and-steady approach. And although it’s been painfully peaceful around these parts, the Thunder is making strides to come back a better bunch through a behind-the-scenes process playing out in every corner of the country. It’s called player development. Thunder coach Scott Brooks assembled an off-season plan for each of his players back on April 16, the day after the season finale. Some instructions were player-specific. Some contained general developmental concepts. For the better part of the past four months, Brooks and his assistants have traveled far and wide to meet with returning players for workouts and one-on-one attention geared toward maximum improvement. "We’ve basically touched every player somewhere, either in their hometowns or they came back here or we met them in summer league,” Brooks said. "Our players are committed to getting better, and I think they’ve executed it. "That’s a big part of our summer. Summertime is the time to really develop on your individual skills in your game. And when they come together in fall camp, my job is to take all that individual improvement and wrap it all together and make a better team.” We’re now inside one month until the start of training camp, when Brooks must take the torch and blend the talent.