The last time we saw Thunder star Kevin Durant, he was being tackled by Ron Artest as Russell Westbrook missed a tough shot that could have forced a seventh game against the Lakers. Prior to that time, Durant had built up a reputation as a stone cold basketball robot. He was a scoring machine who thought about nothing unrelated to finding new angles to make his next shot.
Since the season ended, though, the Durantula has shown of a much more varied personality. It started when LeBron James’ playoff run ended and the “LeBron James Sweepstakes” officially started. When K.D. offered to answer questions from his Twitter followers, one asked if he would want the best player in the NBA to join him in OKC. His response:
RT @michael_reece: @KDthunderup would u want Lebron in okc?(honestly, nah I like who we have..I’m the leader of that teem)
Talk about bowdy. The Thunder’s best player publicly admitted he doesn’t want to deal with LeBron’s overbearing personality. Don’t get me wrong, James makes no sense with this roster. He and Durant would play the same role, and since there is only one ball, they can’t both get enough shots. The team would still need help in the post and with “King” James and Durant both making boatloads of cash (with Russell Westbrook a year away from doing the same), the budget would be busted. Regardless, most players, particularly guys like Durant who have been so cautious in building their reputation, either ignore such a question (which would have been simple to do, considering the medium) or gone with mealy mouthedness: “Any1 would be lucky to play with LeBron, but I like the teem we have.” It was like he wanted LBJ to know he wasn’t welcome and to ignore any calls from the 405 area code during free agency. This is the same guy who spent all of last off season trying to convince his Twitter followers that LeBron and Carmelo were far better than he. I think winning has given him some confidence.
Next, this happened: (h/t Daily Thunder)
Thoughts after the break.
Some of you may remember that the year Kevin Durant left the University of Texas to enter the NBA, there was debate among fans and media about whether Portland (who won the draft lottery) should select him over Ohio State center Greg Oden. Among basketball people there was seemingly no question. This picture is just one more hammer in the “Portland Screwed Up Case.”
I knew at the time it was a mistake. I remember arguing with Patrick at a Hornets game when he was hoping that Oden would drop to #2. While Patrick quoted The Sports Guy quoting The Princess Bride at me to excuse why Oden’s college numbers had been underwhelming (supposedly he was hurt all season), I questioned why the bulky seven footer also had pedestrian high school statistics. My concern was that a guy who was playing every game with, at least, a six inch height advantage over any player who was guarding him, still scored only 14 points a game. But, Oden was quoted saying he was going to win a dozen NBA championships, so I was the crazy one for comparing the Blazers choice to their decision to take Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.
Fast forward three years and now there is no debate. Oden has played in only 33% of the games he has been paid for, and his numbers in those games have been underwhelming. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is the youngest scoring champion in league history and has been the catalyst behind the team becoming the sports most promising team. But that isn’t why the picture proves Durant was the better choice.
No, when Oden wants people to think about his manhood, he actually photographs it and puts it on the internet (for the love of Gary Enland, DO NOT google this to see what I’m talking about). Our star player only makes a pun related to the NBA’s marketing slogan.
And for those of you who would rather think of KD as a the cute, cuddly, sweet guy who would never try to bag groupies and make dick jokes, I leave you with a picture from his recent trip to China (h/t Wasted Optimism):
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