Oklahoma City's 50th win of the season Sunday night at Dallas marked the third time in four years that the Thunder has won at least 50 games.
It's an accomplishment that hasn't been lost on the Thunder players and coach Scott Brooks.
“We had 40 wins in two seasons, and now we have 50 wins almost every year,” said Kevin Durant. “So that's a blessing and shows how much we've grown as an organization. It's great to be a part of. We really can't take wins for granted because we went a few years without getting many.”
Durant and Nick Collison are the only two players who were members of the Seattle SuperSonics when they went 20-62 in their final season. Brooks was an assistant coach on that team. In the franchise's first year in Oklahoma City, the Thunder went 23-59.
“Give our guys the credit,” Brooks said. “They come out every year and try to get better. And we never used our age as an excuse. We've always worked on the practice floor, and having 50 win seasons is a mark that we can be proud of. But we've still got a lot of games left and we still want to keep improving going into the playoffs.”
With 15 regular season games remaining, the Thunder would need to go 10-5 to finish with its first 60-win season. The Sonics accomplished that feat only three times in their 41-year history, but no current Thunder player or coach was a member of any of those clubs.
“It shows that we're improving,” said Thabo Sefolosha. “It shows that we keep getting better and we're a good team. I'm not surprised with it. But at the same time, I'm really happy with the growth of the team.”
OKLAHOMA NATIVE JOINS THUNDER FRONT OFFICE
The Thunder has hired Jason Ranne, a Tulsa native who starred at Bishop Kelley High School before going on to play at Arizona, as its director of strategic planning.
Ranne will work with basketball operations on initiatives that include team payroll, player acquisitions and long-term operational planning.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to add Jason to our front office staff,” said Thunder GM Sam Presti. “He adds a diverse skill-set as well as many years of experiences within the industry of sport. We are confident that he will make a positive contribution to our operations as we continue to build and grow as an organization.”
Ranne, who owns a law degree from the University of Minnesota, spent the past six years with the Wasserman Media Group, most recently as the company's senior vice president of team sports. Before joining Wasserman, Ranne was a guard on the 2000-04 Wildcats and served as team captain in his senior season.
THUNDER NOMINATED FOR NATIONAL AWARD
The Thunder is one of four teams that have been selected as nominees in the “Sports Team of the Year” category for the 2013 Sports Business Awards, presented by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.
The Thunder is joined by the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Sounders and Washington Nationals.
The SportsBusiness Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for the period from March 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013. Sports teams in the major and minor league and U.S. national teams in leagues whose central offices are located in North America were eligible.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony that will be held Wednesday, May 22 in New York City.
THREE RECALLED FROM TULSA
The Thunder recalled guards Jeremy Lamb and DeAndre Liggins, as well as center Daniel Orton from the Tulsa 66ers on Monday.
All three will be with the team for Tuesday's game against Denver.