Oklahoma City Thunder, Leadership

Nick Gallo, NBA (http://www.nba.com/thunder/news/trainingcamp_151015)

Billy Donovan, the Thunder’s leader on the sideline, has witnessed the team’s leadership dynamic first hand since joining the team five months ago. The quartet of long-time Thunder veterans weren’t simply anointed as leaders. In fact, in Oklahoma City, that is the type of thing that gradually develops over time and Donovan has seen and learned about the growth marks.

“You have four guys in Serge, Nick, Kevin and Russell who have been here for a long, long time,” Donovan said. “They have a lot invested in the organization. From a leadership standpoint, those things happen organically.”

Collison leads by his relentless attention to detail and the sacrifices he makes on and off the floor each night. Ibaka sets the tone by example, through his tireless training and focus on perfecting his craft on both sides of the ball. Durant and Westbrook, for their part, form a complementary duo that helps guide younger Thunder players through new situations, both with their words on the floor and their time bonding off of it.

“The one thing I really admire about Russell and Kevin is that they’re vocal,” Donovan said. “They do talk to the team and they do create a presence out there every day. They do say really good things to the guys in terms of helping our team get better.”

Just because the Thunder’s elder statesmen have arisen as the standard bearers of the organization doesn’t mean that the other players on the roster aren’t involved in assisting the group or other individuals.

Novak can be seen working with Andre Roberson on his shooting stroke while Steven Adams took in Mitch McGary early on to help him with defensive coverages. Those are just two of many examples of how the Thunder family sticks together and invests on all of the relationships, which is something the team must continue to cultivate all year long.

“You don’t always have to be the best player to be the leader,” Durant said. “We take input from everybody. That’s how basketball is supposed to be played. There’s not just one guy that we look at and just expect him to say everything.” 

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