ESPN's lead broadcast team of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy held a conference call Tuesday afternoon and discussed how the Thunder can and should play its way to heightened expectations this season.
"I think the main thing is to understand from top to bottom in the organization that there's a reason why you won so many games (50) last year, and to follow that game plan and that strategy," Jackson said. "They competed. They played through their star player (Kevin Durant). Everybody showed up. They covered each other even through the limitations. They were extremely small at times, but they outworked folks and they were well-coached. You don't want to fall in love with what you did last year. You want to build on it and come back better."
Van Gundy said: "For me, it's about maintaining who you are as a team. For a young team last year to get it like they did defensively, you just don't usually see that. They got it defensively. Again, I go back to defense in this league is about coaching and your best players buying into that. And I think they had it covered from both ends. I think Scott Brooks is an outstanding teacher defensively and Kevin Durant and the best players are buying into that idea that defense is an important and integral part in winning in the NBA."
DURANT FOR MVP
Van Gundy likes Durant, but said he will have to beat out Miami's LeBron James for league MVP.
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