Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 11:05 am  |  38 responses

Kevin Durant Dismisses Doubts About the OKC Thunder

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

They’re NBA championship contenders, sure. But outside of OKC’s locker room and front-office, does anyone truly believe the Thunder can win it all this season?

It doesn’t really matter; Kevin Durant believes.

KD has heard it all — James Harden’s trade will cost them dearly, Russell Westbrook is a little too erratic, Scott Brooks’ rotations are head-scratching at times — but he pushes forward in the title quest, undeterred.

Per SI and the Star-Ledger:

“I’m happy with where we are right now,” Durant said. “We’re starting to hit our stride. We’re playing great defense, moving the ball, taking care of the ball. Of course, we want to be better. But I like where we are.” [...] “When you lose in the Finals, you just want to start the season off in the playoffs,” Durant said. “But we’re patient. We’re building habits here every single day. I like the direction. Guys are buying into what we’re doing. It’s an exciting time of year.”

It’s a standard riff for (Charles Barkley): He cited Miami’s invincibility, how Oklahoma City is just another jumper-oriented team, and all the usual prophecies that hath been foretold to his regal roundness. [...] “He said that last year,” Durant said. “He said we wouldn’t make it to the Finals — that we were a bunch of jump shooters. But we’re shooting 48 percent as a team. We don’t shoot all 3s and jumpers. We get in the paint. We can do it all. So of course he’s gonna say that. You respect sometimes what he says, he’s a funny guy. But we don’t listen to him.” [...] “You only know how good we can be (during) this playoffs,” Durant said, before dropping 34 on the Knicks. “I wouldn’t say we’re hurting without James (Harden). Of course, he’s having a great season. But any team would love to have him.”

Ah, yes. The James Harden issue, which hangs over everything the OKC Thunder do — and don’t do — this season. According to Kevin Durant, there’s no need to fret. He’ll figure out a way to overcome that obstacle.

Soon enough, KD and the Thunder will have the Playoff stage to silence all doubters.

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  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    “But outside of OKC’s locker room and front-office, does anyone truly believe the Thunder can win it all this season?”

    You answered this question by referring to someone “in the locker room”

  • GBtha G

    I completely agree with KD. I think the thunder will make the finals again.we all know bout the spurs — best record and end the season with nothing.
    Why does c.barkley continue 2 make noises with 0 titles??????


    Word to his moms.

  • Anthony Dixon

    they will win if Westbrook can become more efficient against the best.

  • LakeShow

    Comes down to Westbrook…

  • shutup

    What is it we all know about the Spurs?????

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    Actually it comes down to having a consistent 3rd scorer.

  • LakeShow

    Your right, but that 3rd scorer could be negated by Westbrooks play.

  • Rocabye

    They’re just too young. KD is what? 24? Idc what anyone says, there is absolutely no substitute for experience. And since the Thunder basically depend on KD’s play, they can’t win it until *he* has the IQ to win it. Miami is a more mature team, and Lebron James certainly has a higher IQ with 4 years on Durant. The only gap is experience, and you can’t fill that by just trying your hardest.

  • The Seed

    Harden lost the NBA Finals for OKC. Go rewatch and Westbrook is the leader of OKC. KD has stated this too.

  • shutup

    so instead of replying you edit your post, kind of a b!tch move. You do realize only one team can win the Chip? Its been a minute since the Spurs were fully healthy in the playoffs. Kevin Martin is no James Harden which was the linchpin to the Spurs loss last year in the playoffs.

  • JL

    Actually it comes down to people doubting the Thunder because LBJ has taken it to another level this year. While KD has been better as well, he is still not on the same level as LBJ. Wade with all his FTs and lack of 3pt shooting which he wasn’t good at is much more efficient than Westbrook, so the little checks and balances could go either way as they are all very good players, but on average would lean more towards the Heat IMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I agree. KD is obviously better but OKC lives and dies by Russ’ play/leadership

  • http://www.facebook.com/faraan.akhtar Faraan Akhtar

    OKC lives and dies by Russ’s bricks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    what if OKC traded Russ and Ibaka for Dwight instead of trading Harden

  • King David

    Westbrook > Durant

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Russell has an alpha dog personality. Kevin doesn’t, but he just happens to be the 2nd or 3rd best player in basketball because of his talent and skill level. If he had the same kind of personality Russell did, they wouldn’t work at all. They’d butt heads too much. Russell needs to learn to tone it down a little especially in the 4th quarter. Winning a championship depends on Ibaka and Kevin Martin scoring consistently and Westbrook playing under control. They’d still beat San Antonio in a series. Too young and relentless for the Spurs. All that’s in front of them is Miami who no one can beat in a series.

  • thereal.z

    FYI, he is unquestionably no lower than a close second best player on Earth. Smh Rose fans.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Greater than Durant in what? Definitely not a better basketball player. If that’s what you think, you should watch them play while you’re sober.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Is it unquestionable or is that just your opinion..as if that’s the unquestioned truth? Did I mention Rose or did you pull that out of your behind? LeBron is first. No close second. Then Durant and Kobe are 2nd or 3rd depending on the night. Kobe’s having a great season and deserves to be mentioned as the 2nd or 3rd best player with Durant. Durant isn’t close to LeBron and neither is Kobe. When Durant gets better on defense, then you can put that word “close” in there. But now? No.

  • Happy

    Actually, your opinion is the one with nothing concrete to support it. It’s basically backed by nothing but your perceptions, which isn’t enough to convince anyone of anything. You’re definitely in the minority amongst people who actually watch basketball.

    Kobe: 27.8 ppg; 5.4 rpg; 5.7apg; 47.5% fg; 34.3% 3pt; 84.1% ft; 3.7 to 23.69 PER, which is 10th in the league. I don’t even have to talk about team record, despite the fact that Kobe has Dwight Howard.

    Durant: 28.5 ppg; 7.8 rpg; 4.7 apg; 50.6% fg; 90.6% FT; 40.1% 3pt; 3.3 to in 38.6 mpg; 28.74 PER, which is good for 2nd in the league behind Lebron’s 31.43. Again, I don’t even have to mention team record.

    Durant has been better defensively and that’s not really questionable either.

    Now, given this set of objective facts, do you care to explain the basis of your opinion? I mean, anyone can put together a string of great games throughout an 82 game season. That’s what Kobe did. It’s a remarkable stretch, especially because of his age, but it doesn’t make him number two.

  • Happy

    Durant has gotten better on defense EVERY single season. If you don’t know that, you don’t watch enough to state your opinion on the matter. And yes, I was one of those people yelling about how Durant isn’t close to Lebron. He is though. He won’t surpass him for a few seasons, but he’s close.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    I actually watch basketball and have been watching for 20 years. Kobe’s having, at worst, the 3rd best season in the league. You act like I said Durant isn’t worthy of anyone calling him the 2nd best player. Can you read? I said he was 2nd or 3rd depending on the night. Keep your stats. I can Google them as well. I know what Durant is doing. I watch him. I also watch Kobe. Watching Kobe play, he’s playing like the 2nd best player in the league at times. Also, you can talk about Kobe having Dwight, but anyone who has been paying attention knows that Dwight still isn’t 100%. Durant has Westbrook who hasn’t missed a game since he picked up a basketball. You don’t have an opinion at all. If so, you certainly didn’t state it. You found some facts that anyone can find easily and that’s it. Good try. You told me that my opinion is based purely on perception and then failed to give any opinion at all. You told me to explain my opinion but didn’t explain yours. Smart move.

  • Happy

    IDK why my comment was erased but here goes the gist of it again:

    My opinion is pretty clear, which is that your statement is silly. On any given night, any given player can be the best, 2nd best, or 3rd best player in the league. Last night Kobe was the best player in the league. Does that mean he is better than Lebron? Of course not. Steph Curry was the best player in the league when he lit up the Knicks. So what? Kobe wasn’t any more the no.2 player in the league than he was the no.1, because those distinctions do not change from game to game when you have guys like Lebron and Durant CONSISTENTLY performing the way they do. There is no basis for your argument. If a game or two here and there can make Kobe better than Durant, then why can’t you make that same asinine argument for Kobe being better than Lebron?

    The stats you say are so easy to Google are a reflection of season long performance, as opposed to your pure opinion backed up but nothing. Using isolated games here and there to make such determinations is just a foolish way to look at things. Lebron is a clear no.1, Durant is a clear no.2. I have a clear way to support my opinion. Do you?

  • Max


  • danpowers

    westbrook was as good as anybody in the finals. king james living up to his standards and a struggling harden and some lack of experience were their biggest problems then. westbrook and durant became even better than then. they might not be as strong as they would be with harden still on the team but having martin as a scorer off the bench aint that bad neither. i think the west is theirs to lose. and if any team could beat the heat in a best of 7 series? man i dont know, i think not even with harden on the team…

  • roscoe

    Just like he dismissed doubts about him carrying Bron bron’s backpack and throwing pizza party in the summer….


  • roscoe

    Westbrook is a winner. he will win a chip in his career.

    durant on the other hand.. idk.

  • roscoe

    what if kd didn’t carry Bron bron’s backpack in the summer.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Actually, he answered this question by saying that the answer doesn’t matter, because only the opinion of this dude in the locker room matters, as opposed to those outside the locker room and front office. He’s saying whether or not people outside the locker room believe in the Thunder is irrelevant.

  • Ugh

    Dude, you’re making noise and you’ve never even played in the NBA. In fact, as far as we know, you don’t even know which end of the ball goes in the hole first.

  • Ugh

    You didn’t explain what you see when you watch, so we don’t really learn anything, it’s just a story about you, not about basketball. Try using descriptive statements that point out objective elements of play, like “KD isn’t as good as LBJ because he can’t defend a baseline cutter, which is exploited by teams X and Y, both of whom they’ll face in the playoffs. LBJ on the other hand, has worked to fix his single largest weakness, which is Problem Z, and you can see his Behaviour A has changed in the last year. Because of KD’s large minutes, he can be exploited in late game situations at the end of the season, whereas LBJ is consistent throughout the game.” See how that helps?

    This way you demonstrate to us that you know what you’re talking about, otherwise you’re just talking about yourself. At least Happy did post some objective data, even if it wasn’t his. You didn’t.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    What? What has Westbrook won that makes him a winner? What he has won in the NBA, Durant’s been there because…you know…they’re teammates. Durant is widely regarded as the 2nd best player. If Westbrook wins, it will be with Durant.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Same stupidity from you. Let it go dude. You sound silly.

  • The Fury

    Did you just started watching the NBA in 2008??

  • roscoe

    Looking in a players eyes and seeing the fire tells me everything KJF.

    It is as clear as a fat man in front of a box doughnuts with Dub-Brook.

    Dub-brook wants a chip so bad he will do anything.

    Kd will share trade secrets w/ the enemy… ie Bron bron.

  • roscoe

    Actually I wrote something and didn’t make a sound.

    now what? OHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhH.

  • http://twitter.com/Gordon321Gordon Gordon

    in 1 month on the internet.
    did you see this site link …………….ow.ly/i32kr