[...] Durant. My favorite player in the league.
Three things to follow with KD this season. First, Russell Westbrook made a leap of sorts this summer — by the end of the World Championships, he was Team USA’s second-best player — which can only help Durant’s progress as the GATH (a cousin to the GOAT, the acronym for “Greatest At This Hour”). He might be playing with the best under-25 guard in basketball for all we know. Second, don’t sleep on rookie Cole Aldrich — he sets great picks, rolls to the rim, crashes the offensive boards and knows where to be. Durant hasn’t had someone setting him a decent pick at any point in his career. Now he does.
Third, you can’t overstate how much the Team USA experience helped Durant: not just succeeding as The Guy and carrying them those last few games, but just getting coached. Durant’s rebounding and defense looks to be miles ahead of where it was the previous couple of years; he’s a legitimate “4″ now in today’s NBA. You could say he graduated from Coach K Camp. (And if you want to make a mean Rick Barnes joke, you could say that it was his first experience with a real college coach.) As an all-around player, Durant looks like he climbed a level from last year … when he only averaged 30 points a game and finished second in the MVP voting. So … yeah.