On Tuesday night, a rising NBA star dropped 47 points in a spectacular performance and it was barely mentioned in highlight shows across the nation. This growing talent is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The former Texas Longhorn stud has quietly produced in the shadows of fellow NBA superstars consistently throughout his young NBA career.
This second year player has not only been putting up tremendous numbers so early in his career, but more importantly his game continues to improve. Durant showed flaws in his rookie year with his poor shot selection and lack of success from behind the arc, but he has already showed tremendous progress in these areas midway through his sophomore season.
Could you even imagine the headlines on ESPN if say LeBron James or draft counterpart Greg Oden were to produce such a performance? We all know they would both get the headline to every sport show on the agenda, but for some reason this young superstar in bloom just isn’t getting the spotlight he deserves.
The 2007 NBA Draft battle for the number one spot between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant was a laughable debate. Durant has shown that he was clearly the better player and this miscued pick by the Trail Blazers might put them in the history books yet again, dare I say Sam Bowie. Yes Oden is still young and has had injuries, but Oden never had that superstar potential. He just became an overblown ESPN character that they create every year, similar to this years Hasheem Thabeet of the UCONN Huskies.
What many may not realize is that if you contrast LeBron James’ first two seasons to Kevin Durant’s, they are extremely comparable. For those who will try to combat this comparison with team success, LeBron missed the playoffs in both his first two seasons as will Durant. And when looking at supporting casts, it really can’t get as bad as what Durant has been dealt, with one of the most inexperienced thin squads we have seen in a while. Not even mentioning how his franchise got moved halfway across the country.
Min Pts Rebs Ast Stl Blk To FG% 3Pt% FT%
LeBron Year 1 39.5 20.9 5.5 5.9 1.6 0.7 3.4 41 29.0 75.4
Durant Year 1 34.6 20.3 4.4 2.4 1.0 1.0 2.9 43 28.8 87.3
LeBron Year 2 42.4 27.2 7.4 7.2 2.20 0.7 3.28 47.2 35.1 75.0
Durant Year 2 39.9 25.9 6.6 2.8 1.21 0.8 3.11 48.2 43.7 85.7
In this case, the numbers don’t lie and with the proper help from the front office, the Oklahoma City Thunder can soon be a playoff regular. With young studs Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green, a little veteran help and a piece here or there and this team will be a contender soon.
Hopefully as Kevin Durant continues to improve we will get to see a lot more of him on National television. He put his skills on display last weekend during the All Star Break netting the Horse Competition victory and dominating the rookie sophomore game. This kid has earned the spotlight and we as fans deserve to see him in action.