Thunder Players Getting Together At UCLA
By Randy Renner
The NFL has it's mini-camps and OTA's where players and coaches can get together for workouts and practices at team facilities.
The NBA doesn't mandate off-season practices but players can organize workouts and quasi-practices on their own.
Some do, some don't.
Fortunately, the Thunder have had players over the years who are dedicated to extra work for the greater good and it's no different this season.
Thunder superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook generally spend several weeks in Los Angeles during the off-season and this week both players got together for workouts and sent out invitations to their teammates to join them on the UCLA campus.
Judging by some short videos that have been posted on Instagram and Snapchat many of their teammates and their coaches and some Thunder staffers answered the call.
Seen in the videos in addition to KD and Russ are Steven Adams, Anthony Morrow, Serge Ibaka, D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler, Nick Collison, Dion Waiters and rookie Cameron Payne.
Coaches aren't allowed to organize these sessions into actual practices but they are allowed to work with players individually. You can also see head coach Billy Donovan and assistants Mark Bryant and Monty Williams in the videos along with team physician Dr. Donnie Strack.
Others are believed to be participating as well, we just haven't seen them on the videos that have been posted.
Durant appears to be moving around pretty good as he continues to recover from the third surgery on his right foot. Because of that procedure Durant is yet to play in a game with Augustin, Singler or Enes Kanter who were acquired at the trade deadline after KD had already gone under the knife again.
So these workouts should give the Thunder a head start on what should be a very interesting training camp.
It will be Donovan's first as an NBA head coach and the Thunder will be learning, if not totally new systems on offense and defense, at least some major tweaks.
Over the years not only have Thunder players tried to get together en masse for about a week's worth of workouts over the summer, most of them have also tried to return to Oklahoma City about a month or so earlier than the team and the league require so they can conduct some more workouts on their own.
This season these early sessions are even more important as so many players who still haven't played together, try to at least get to know each other a little better.