Training camp under way, Thunder players are ready for business

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: December 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm •  Published: December 9, 2011

Breathe easy, Thunder fans.

Everybody's in shape.

That was the most significant story for the Oklahoma City Thunder on the opening day of training camp.

After a five-month lockout that pushed the start of the season back two months, there was just no telling what kind of conditioning players would come back in.

And even though Thunder coach Scott Brooks and forward Serge Ibaka on Friday were seen playfully tugging at whatever extra inches might be on Kevin Durant's slender belly, there were no reports of Thunder players being overweight and out of shape like many throughout the league were the last time the NBA endured a lengthy lockout in 1998-99.

“They're all in good shape,” Brooks said. “That says a lot about the character of our players…I think the guys are really committed to improving; to getting better. It started off with how they came back, and they came back in good shape.”

Twelve regulars were in uniform on the first day. Rookie guard Reggie Jackson, the 24th overall pick, and shooting guard Daequan Cook did not practice as they wait for contracts to be finalized. Jackson will receive a standard rookie scale deal, while Cook agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million contract Friday. Both are awaiting league approval.

The Thunder also added three to its training camp roster: forwards Marcus Dove, an Oklahoma State product, and former Syracuse forward Terrance Roberts, as well as former Stanford guard Anthony Goods.

Already considered to be at an advantage in this shortened 66-game regular season because of its youth, the Thunder is now expected to benefit from both having a nearly complete roster at the start of camp, as well as coming in well-conditioned.

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