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Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder's D-League program acting as a career springboard for players, coaches and support staff

More than any other NBA franchise, the Thunder has steadily utilized its D-League program the past six years. And it’s produced a ton of success stories.
by Anthony Slater Published: August 24, 2014

The three guys who held this gig before Daigneault – Nate Tibbetts, Dale Osbourne and Darko Rajakovic – all immediately ascended to assistant coaching positions in the NBA. Tibbetts and Osbourne are currently with the Blazers. Rajakovic was hired as the Thunder’s newest assistant this offseason.

It’s a ton of turnover for one position. But it’s the good kind.

“We feel like with each staff member, with the development league team, we want their best work to be ahead of them,” Presti said. “People who we think will continue to grow and thrive.”

Tony Katzenmeier was a trainer for the 66ers. He’s now part of the Thunder’s medical staff. Steve Scalzi was a video analyst for the 66ers. He’s now part of the Thunder’s video staff. Glenn Wong was a video analyst for the 66ers. He’s now part of the Thunder’s management staff.

“We see the D-League team as an extension of the Thunder organization,” Presti said. “The people that work in the D-League are members of the Thunder. They’re integral to a lot of the different aspects of our offseason work and are expected to be a part of our day-to-day process.”

For players, the D-League has become a budding minor league system. But it’s also turning into a breeding ground for all sorts of positions within an NBA organization. And the Thunder is at the forefront of that movement.

“(D-League positions are) starting to become more and more recognized as being valuable in the development of coaches in general,” Presti said.

And Daigneault is the latest example, leaving a perennial college powerhouse for a job in the NBA’s minor leagues.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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