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Kevin Durant: A star is born

The 2009-2010 NBA season has catapulted one man to basketball superstardom: Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant. Sure Durant performed solidly in his first two seasons in the league, but this season, he flew off the charts.

30.1 PPG were enough to give him the NBA Scoring Championship ahead of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. His other statistics stacked up too. Field Goal % of.476, three point field goal % of .365 and a free throw % of.900 were up there with the best in the league. He also chipped in with 7.6 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.4 SPG. He has clearly become a top-level, all round-performer at the tender age of 21 and a place in the All NBA First Team proves it.

Big things were expected of the Washington born small forward from the start. He played only one year’s college basketball at Texas and was prolific. He consequently declared himself eligible for the 2007 NBA Draft, at which he was the second pick for Seattle Supersonics behind Ohio’s Greg Oden. Durant’s first season for the Sonics was commendable if unspectacular as he won Rookie of the Year honours.

Kevin Durant in action (This image is the property of NBA.com)

At the end of 2007-2008 season, the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sonics had already become a somewhat unfashionable outfit after the glory years of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp in the 90s and the relocation did not help matters. In their inaugural season, the Thunder, despite the best efforts of Durant, slumped to a record of 23-59. The 2009-2010 season however, was a different story.

There is undoubtedly a direct correlation between the improvement in the franchise’s fortunes and the upsurge in Durant’s own form. As Durant moved in to the elite player category, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff series with a record of 50-32, something which echoes Lebron James’s early career. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, they met the top seeds and defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers and lost in six games. It was still a laudable performance from the team with the youngest average age in the NBA and they will look to improve further next year, with their number 35 no doubt spearheading their charge.

At the age of 21, Durant has the world at his feet. Now an NBA superstar with a whopping endorsement contract from Nike to match, he really is close to a complete player. He is able to post up against bigger guys and shoot over the top of smaller guards. He can drive the lane or he can shoot from the perimeter. Perhaps Lebron James and Kobe Bryant are the only players currently in the NBA who are better all-round performers than Durant, but they have been doing it for years at the highest level. Can Durant go on and cement his place as a genuine megastar who consistently performs off the charts? This writer certainly thinks so and is very much looking forward to finding out.

For Kevin Durant’s Player Profile, visit http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kevin_durant/

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