The Oklahoma City Thunder will not only send the defending Western Conference champions to the court this season, they'll be sending four Olympic medalists. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all notched gold with Team USA, while Serge Ibaka was on the silver-medalist Spanish team.
In an NBA.com mailbag, Durant said that experience should only be beneficial as the Thunder seek to complete what they started last year and win an NBA title:
"My role was a little different playing with Team USA as opposed to when I'm on the Thunder," Durant said. "So I learned a lot about myself as a player. I think half the game is mental. Watching other guys and approaching the game like I did, I think I learned in that aspect. I also learned how to be a better leader and hopefully I bring it back to OKC and become a better player. I know I have a long way to go, I just have to keep improving."
Having so much Olympic experience between the start of the 2012-13 season and the bitter end to last season should help:
"I know James and Russ sacrificed a lot, and also Serge sacrificed a lot for the betterment of the team," Durant said. "You like to see that in guys, main pieces to a good team. Serge came out and did his role really well, played hard for Spain. ... Those guys did a great job and they got better throughout the summer. I'm looking forward to having them in OKC this season."