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Young Thunder could fare well basketball-wise in NBA lockout

by Berry Tramel Published: July 1, 2011

Kevin Durant played knockout — that shooting survivor game — with some of his lucky campers Thursday at Heritage Hall.

Not long after the sun set on his camp, the NBA announced its lockout.

From knockout to lockout to, wipeout? We all now go on vigil hoping the coming NBA season isn't torpedoed by owners anxious to be saved from themselves.

If the threat of labor strife has you down, here's a theory that might lift Oklahoma spirits. The Thunder should fare very well, from a basketball sense, in the lockout.

The lockout shutters team facilities. Players are banished from the premises; can't even show their likenesses in photo or video. NBATV is showing wall-to-wall WNBA stuff for several days, followed by repeats of wall-to-wall dunk contests from pre-1995, which will contain no active players.

In such a cold war, players have to fend for themselves. A team of youngsters would seem in danger of shiftlessness.

I would argue not so with the Thunder. So would Durant.

“I'm looking forward to just keep getting better as an individual and with my team,” Durant said.

But with the ballplayers scattered to the wind, how can the Thunder improve as a team?

“I think the worst thing we could do was be scattered,” Durant said. “We're going to try to stick together and get as much work in as possible. Work on things we need to work on as a team ... we're going to do a great job coming back in shape. And knowing our schemes and our plans to get better.”

Seems like a tall order. Durant's from D.C., has a home in Miami for leisure and likes to hang out in Austintatious, Texas.

Russell Westbrook is an LA guy. Nick Collison still lives in Seattle in the off-season. Kendrick Perkins is all about Houston and Beaumont, and I have no plans to tell him not to be. Serge Ibaka travels the seas as his popularity soars.

So how do you get these guys together? A couple of ways.

One, most of them are unmarried. Most of them are free to do whatever they want. Just because you're an NBA stud doesn't mean you still don't have to run stuff past your wife. This summer, being single is a definite advantage for a ballplayer.

Two, while the Thunder core is a bunch of 21- and 22-year-olds, the Boomers have veterans that the kids listen to. Collison, Nazr Mohammed, Royal Ivey.

“Nick and Nazr and Royal, guys like that, they do a great job communicating with everybody throughout the whole summer, kind of locking down locations for us to work out together,” Durant said.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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