Thunder players gathered after Wednesday's first practice, and the rookies lined up and sang happy 22nd birthday to All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who last season became the youngest scoring champion in NBA history.
Coach Scott Brooks shook his head in amazement at Durant's youth.
"Unbelievable. It's a great thing," Brooks said. "He's pretty good at 22. Can you imagine when he knows what he's doing? Special player. Special kid."
COLLISON KNOWS BEST
At age 29, power forward/center Nick Collison is the Thunder's second-oldest player. He is entering his seventh NBA season and has had three surgical procedures as a pro. He has endured setbacks before, but that doesn't make it any easier to sit out the beginning of training camp with a bruised bone in his left knee.
Collison had his right knee scoped on May 11 and was nearing the end of rehabilitation when pain began to linger in his left knee. Doctors recommended Collison sit out indefinitely to allow the left knee to heal with rest.
Asked how much he was struggling mentally with this latest setback, Collison said: "I wouldn't say struggling, but it is disappointing. I think I'm able to deal with it better now than I would have earlier in my career. I think I have a good sense of the big picture though, and realize where I want to get. I will eventually get there. I'm fairly confident of that. You always want to come in feeling great and start from Day 1, but it's just not the case."
LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT
Collison's hair is short but perhaps longer than it's been since his college days at Kansas. Collison jokingly said he is letting his hair grow and shaving his face more frequently because he wants to look appealing when his contract expires after this season.
"Hopefully some teams will think I'm a lot younger than I am," Collison deadpanned. "That's the plan."