Is OKC’s Kevin Durant the real MVP?

Kevin Durant With GF

Kevin Durant won the first MVP award of his career, after spending six seasons in the NBA. He deserved the award 100 percent and even his strongest rival in this race, LeBron James, admitted that. KD recorded a marvelous season, putting up huge performances, especially during the time that Russell Westbrook was out with an injury. Nonetheless, in the end, the Oklahoma City Thunder failed to even make it to the NBA Finals. In fact, during the postseason, Durant was not as great as he was during the regular season. So is he the real MVP? Or did LeBron once again prove his supremacy? Maybe even Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were better than Durant during the Western Conference Finals? [Read more…]

Can Kevin Durant finally lead OKC to the title this year?

Kevin Durant With GF

Kevin Durant was just recently named the MVP of the 2013 – 2014 NBA season. Almost anyone around the NBA world expected him to earn the trophy. Even the four-time MVP LeBron James endorsed KD this year, stating that he clearly deserves the title. Although it took them seven games, the Thunder eventually made it to the Western Semis. The big question for Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of the group now is how far they can go. Can Kevin Durant really lift the team over any opponent in the West and lead them to the NBA Finals? Do the Thunder have enough to win the title this year? [Read more…]

Comparing NBA MVP Candidates to the 2011 Best Picture Nominees

The NBA season is over two thirds complete, so what better way to look at MVP candidates than to parallel them with my ranking of the Best Picture nominees for this Sunday’s Academy Awards.

With my Minnesota Timberwolves playing as poorly as they have this season, I’ve been able to catch plenty of movies this winter.

Lets get to it. (Note: All stats are through Thursday February 24th.)

 

10) Amar’e Stoudemire- Winter’s bone

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OKC Thunder’s Kevin Durant Mentors Indiana Hoosiers’ Maurice Creek

Durant USA

In my job, I do a ton of college basketball interviews. And one of my favorite questions to ask players at the collegiate level is “do you have any NBA role models?” Or “even if you don’t model your game on someone, is there anyone you look up to as a favorite player in the league?” Over the span of 2008-09, the most common answer I received was Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics.

However, during the past 6 months or so, that answer changed to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.

A major reason is because the former is aging/declining. We’re also seeing his reputation deteriorate as we continue to learn more about his negative personality traits. But on the other side, the latter is nearing his prime and also looking like one of the game’s few good men.

And when you’re the NBA’s leading scorer, you’re bound to inspire legions of acolytes; including Indiana Hoosiers sophomore wing Maurice Creek.

By Paul M. Banks

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Durant, Thunder Among NBA’s Best

oklahoma city thunder

Do you think Sam Presti sends fruit baskets to the Portland Trail Blazers franchise on a weekly basis as a “thank you” for them passing on Kevin Durant and having him fall right into the Oklahoma City Thunder’s lap?  OKC is rising up the ranks of the NBA and a sexy pick to de-throne the Lakers in the Western Conference.  As long as they have Durant and an improving supporting cast, it is not a crazy thought.

By: David Kay
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NBA Power Rankings: #22 Oklahoma City Thunder

kevin-durant

by: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
The Thunder were awful in the 2008 portion of the season but were able to come together enough to be a respectable team in 2009. They played in a ton of close games and the roster really grew under Head Coach Scott Brooks after he took over in late November. The core of the team put together by GM Sam Presti truly gelled over the course of the season and is in good shape to build for the future.

Depth Chart:
C: Nenad Kristic/Etan Thomas/B.J. Mullens/Serge Ibaka
PF: Jeff Green/Nick Collison/D.J. White
SF: Kevin Durant
SG: James Harden/Thabo Sefalosha/Kyle Weaver/Robert Vaden
PG: Russell Westbrook/Kevin Ollie/Shaun Livingston

Head Coach: Scott Brooks (2nd year)

2009-2010 Team Salary: $49.9 million
Projected 2010-2011 Team Salary: approximately $39.6 million

Off-Season Grade: Passed
General manager Sam Presti continues to stick to his guns and build this team through the draft.  Oklahoma City was the opposite of Memphis this off-season and did nothing stupid to mess up their salary cap situation or stray away from their game plan.

harden-draft-nightGive credit to Presti for passing on Ricky Rubio, the sexier pick, with the third overall pick and instead filling a need for a shooting guard by taking Harden who should fit right in with his unselfish, yet mature game.  Taking a risk on B.J. Mullens, an athletic big with plenty of up-side was worth the gamble with their late first round pick.

Other than the draft, the former-Sonics made minor moves to round out their roster.  They signed journeyman point guard Kevin Ollie and acquired Etan Thomas.  Serge Ibaka arrives from Spain, but is another project post player who will need time to better develop his all-around game before he becomes a consistent contributor.

2009-2010 Outlook:
“Slowly, but surely” should be the motto in Oklahoma City.  While the future looks extremely bright, the present is still very much a work in progress.  Many are expecting Kevin Durant to make “the leap” and become an MVP-caliber player this season.  Russell Westbrook proved to be the point guard of the future in his rookie season while Jeff Green is a great “glue guy” who knows his role on the floor.

Other than those three youngsters and Harden, there isn’t a lot to be excited about on this roster.  Outside of Nick Collison, the bench is a bit of a mess with a lot of unproven players.  I am excited about the future of this franchise and to watch their young players continue to improve and gain chemistry, but I still think they are a year or two away from being a true playoff contender.

Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

The Thunder will have a good amount of money to spend next off-season.  If history is any indication though, OKC will likely save their money and continue to build through the draft and save their cap space to re-sign their young, up-and-coming stars when they need to be re-signed.

However, there is the possibility that a younger free agent may see the potential on this roster and decide to sign with the Thunder to hurry the re-building process along.  Presti has proven that he will not overspend for free agents, so I wouldn’t expect that to happen unless there it too good a bargain to pass up.  Either way, a likely lottery pick will only help the youth movement.

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