The beginning of a new era was highlighted on national television this week, and the phenomenal phenom Kevin Durant made his debuts. While the war over keeping the franchise in Seattle continues to rage on, Durant has quickly emerged as everything Sonics fans had hoped for.
- Although the Sonics lost both games, they were to legitimate title contenders in the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, neither of which was bound to lose their season openers.
- In both games, Seattle was not only hanging with the best of the west, but was actually leading for most of the game. That is, until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Without a respected leader and superstar, say a Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis, to make some clutch plays, the young and inexperienced Sonics are vulnerable at the end of games. In the home opener, Durant had 27 points midway through the fourth until the Suns' harassing double teams on him pretty much killed any Sonics offense.
- My new main main "KD" struggled at times, but showed flashes of brilliance scoring against the likes of good defenders in Carmelo Anthony, Raja Bell, and Shawn Marion.
- For such a skinny and supposedly weak player, KD was able to get to the basket a lot more than I expected, and will be an even greater threat once he develops the strength to go alongside the likes of the Kobes and Lebrons.
- Durant has an amazingly smooth shot, and can consistently get it as a 6'9" guard with freakishly long arms.
- What impressed me the most, however, was Durant's willingness to handle the ball, and his ability to make good passes. Durant is already drawing double teams coming off screens, slashing to the lane, or pushing the fast break, and has made some nice passes. Considering young guys normally take years to learn when and how to effectively pass the ball in the NBA (has Kobe learnt yet?), KD is already well ahead of the game.
other random thoughts...
- It is November, and yet sports fans in Los Angeles are hyping the Dodgers' hiring of Joe Torre. Since when does a manager or coach carry that much weight that the team suddenly becomes a contender?
- Oh right, the year Phil Jackson came to town, he immediately started a mini-dynasty.
- My Houston Rockets are 2-0, and it is an impressive 2-0 considering they are breaking in a new offensive scheme under a completely different coaching style under Rick Adelman. Furthermore, the two wins were convincing ones on the road against western playoff teams.
- T-Mac went off for 47 points at Utah last night, and Yao Ming is slowly embracing playing a faster game. The guys on Inside the NBA pointed out how Yao was getting the ball in transition and making a quick move in the post, preventing the defense from getting set and sending down double teams.
- That style is exactly how the Lakers won those three championships, with a quick and agile Shaq running the floor and making quick moves in the post before the double teams could arrive.
- All eyes on the Boston Celtics. Stay healthy Ray, and you may win a boatload of games (70?) and a ring.