Kevin Durant appeared on ESPN radio in Seattle to answer a few questions for Sonics/Thunder fans. I like the fact that Durant still sees a connection to his former home, although I doubt that interviews will placate the Sonics-faithful. In any event, here are a few questions and answers that I've excerpted. You can read/listen to the entire interview here:
What Scott Brooks bring to Oklahoma City:
"He’s just brought that enthusiasm I think. He’s a young coach like us so he knows what we’re going through, he’s been through it in this league, been through ups and downs, winning a championship, but being on some of the worst teams as well...Every day at practice it’s tough for us. He brings that energy and never lets us slack off."
For me, understanding the progression of Scott Brooks is difficult because this is the only year I've invested in watching the team play. There is no question that earning long-term success in the NBA is probably even more difficult than trying to be a player in the NBA. In fact, unless your last name is Popovich or Jackson, from the day that you're hired you have the expectation that the countdown to the time you're fired has begun. Young coaches simply don't have deep impacting success in the NBA these days; the demands are too rigorous, the players too rich, and the front office too demanding. So the odds are stacked against Brooks. And yet, if Brooks quit the job tomorrow, who would the team hire that is better? I think the only real coaching coup in this past season was in Chicago stealing away Tom Thibodeau from the Celtics. If the team is going to be allowed to gel as a unit, my hope is the front office will be as patient with Brooks as they are with guys like Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
What happened between him and Chris Bosh:
"It’s all good. Every time I step on the floor I’m still going to be a competitive guy. I’m not going to go up to him and talk to him about the situation because it’s over. Everything happens on the court like that all the time...It’s over and it’s something I have to live with. At the same time I can’t let my emotion get the best of me."
I don't think Durant was trying to manipulate the system, but this type of thing is an inadvertent offshoot of the new zero tolerance policy for player outbursts. If a player can't say what he needs to say in games, then he's going to wait to say it in a safer haven. I don't think that, generally speaking, zero tolerance policies work. Last night's game provided good examples for that assertion. When you require a player to exert all they have emotionally and mentally, there will be some byproduct. I do like the fact that fans rallied around Durant instead of acting shocked.
How he feels about the early entry rule in the NBA Draft:
"I like it how it is now. Having guys wait till they are 18 or 19 or have one year of college I think it’s good like that. Kids get experience with playing against good competition in college instead of going straight from high school. You grow up a little bit in college too. I can only speak on my experience, but I think once I went down to school I grew up a lot as a person and as a man off the floor."
Durant is the rare case where he actually prefers the age restriction as it is now. I wish the interviewer had asked how he felt about the league wanting to raise it. Durant seems to have a good grounding in the idea that college is about a lot of things, not the least of which is that boys learn to become men, because the people around them treat them that way. It is a critical step in learning how to survive in the real world.