After having a few very disappointing seasons in a row, the Oklahoma City Thunder, thanks in part to both maturation and head coach Scott Brooks, turned it all around in the 2009-2010 season.
They improved their win total by 27 games (23 to 50) and made the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Even though the Thunder (No. 8 seed) were outed by the No. 1 seed Lakers in the first round, their chemistry was visibly getting better and they looked ready to improve on their success.
Last season the Thunder improved their record by five games (55-27), which was good enough to earn them the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
After winning two difficult, hard fought series against the Denver Nuggets in the first round and the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round, the Thunder came up short against the eventual NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.
That brings us to the present day, with the NBA lockout terrorizing players, owners and the fans. While the lockout has been in effect, Kevin Durant hasn't stopped working on his game and showcasing his abilities across the country. He's ready to play. He's ready to win.
The Thunder have grown up in front of our eyes over the last few seasons, and even though they are still a young team, the time to start winning is now.
They've proved they're good enough to make it that far; they just need a little push to get over the hump. That's why when the lockout is finally over, free agency will be an important issue to address.
Many believe that the Thunder are already good enough to win and that they just needed some experience on their side. While this may be true, adding a free agent that can contribute to your team is never a bad thing.
This is why the Thunder need to take a look at the following 11 players.