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1/18/10 - On The Rise in OKC

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Kevin Durant - Without an overwhelming amount of hype or fanfare, Kevin Durant has gone from very nice young player, to near the front of the line for the crown of "Best Hoopster Alive". As a result of the updated NBA draft rules, Durant did a one-and-done stint at Texas before being taken 2nd overall by the then Seattle Supersonics in the 2007 draft - just behind the Blazers who took Ohio State big-man Greg Oden with the top pick. For a slight moment in time it looked like the fans of the Pacific Northwest were in for an awesome 20 year rivalry between the next great NBA stars, but alas Oden has been injured so much you would think he actually was 48 (ever seen a close up?!) and the Sonics fled to the midwest to become the Thunder. And, as we look up two and a half years later, it sure is looking like Oklahoma City fans were the big winners. Durant had an impressive first campaign, winning rookie of the year as the star of a terrible team, scoring from outside and chucking the ball every time he caught it. However, his transformation over the past year and half has been even more impressive, as he's developed more of an inside game and his numbers have steadily climbed across almost every category (only down in FT %, which is the result of him going to line twice as much) - as this season he's averaging 29pts, 7rebs & 3 assts a game, which is nearly on par with KG's (24, 12, 4) MVP season in 03-04 with the T-Wolves. Now Durant's team isnt as good and wont be going to the NBA Finals this season, but he's already proved he can hit clutch game winners and share the spotlight - like he did in tonights 94-91 Thunder win in Atlanta. Fans in Oklahoma City waited a long time to get a pro team of their own, but now that they've got a team with Durant leading the charge it looks like they may be enjoying Thunder games for a long time to come.