Think Durant & Co. learned a thing or two from them?
Think at some point over those four days, without a coach in sight, the Thunder got better?
Without a few abbreviated Twitter messages, however, no one would have ever known Thunder players were assembling in Texas. Even with them, few seem to grasp just how significant of a development it is.
For fans, knowledge of such gatherings by the Thunder can spark emotions of joy and pain. Joy because it serves as confirmation that the team's commitment is real, while also amplifying the anticipation for next season because this team really could be Finals bound. But the pain comes in when, once again, you're forced to come back to reality and accept that there might not be a 2011-12 NBA season at all.
Should the spats and penny-pinching pan out, though, the Thunder will be ready. The roster's college-like camaraderie served it well as it marched from a 23-win team to a Western Conference finalist, and it could be what gives it a leg up whenever the games start up again.
This, more than anything, is why folks near and far love the Thunder.
This, more than anything, is why the Thunder is creeping closer to a championship.