The Thunder wrapped up preseason with a 101-86 win, meaning they went 4-3. KD had 19 and eight assists (and no turnovers!), Russell Westbrook 17 and seven assists and Byron Mullens had nine rebound off the bench. Nenad Krstic also returned for his first action. Now the real deal comes next Wednesday against the Bulls.
SLAM has KD as the third best player: “Kevin Durant is one of the five biggest stories the season. He’s fresh off a legacy-building summer and regular season that put him in exclusive discussions. About midway through last season, I tweeted that Kevin Durant was playing the best basketball a 21-year-old guy had ever played. I wasn’t saying he played better basketball than 21-year-old LeBron or Magic or whomever, but it was just as good. That means when his career is over, we could be discussing him along with Magic and Kobe or Bird. That’s not a farfetched scenario. That career arch started last season, but it really gets going now.”
The Thunder’s holding an event at MidFirst Bank tomorrow at Grand and Western to kick off the season. The rally will have appearances by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and is at 1 p.m.
Also, don’t forget, new Daily Thunder shirts from Tree and Leaf go on sale tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. They look good people. For example, here are some lovely people already wearing them.
Opening night plans from the Thunder: “In addition to heart-racing NBA action, Opening Night promises plenty of entertainment. The party atmosphere of Thunder Alley will begin outside the Oklahoma City Arena at 5:30 p.m., featuring a live performance by rock-pop recording artist and Oklahoma City native Graham Colton. Thunder Alley has something for the entire family, including $1 Budweiser beers, inflatable games, face-painting and a basketball court. The game’s halftime entertainment will feature performance painter David Garibaldi, renowned for his amazing created-before-your-eyes artworks. The painting he makes will later be auctioned to benefit the Oklahoma City Thunder Community Foundation.”
Kevin Durant is the No. 1 fantasy player according to Dime: “Among the many things he did differently from a certain NBA superstar-gone-South-Beach this offseason, KD managed to elevate his fantasy (and real-life) status rather than stifle it. He was essentially tied for Fantasy Player of the Year honors in 2009-10, and after putting up insane stats last season (48 percent from the field, 90 percent from the line, around 30/8/3 and a combo of 4.0 threes/steals/block per game) it’s easy to write the kid’s name in at No. 1 on your draft cheat sheets. Oh, and get this: Durant will be 22 years old when the season starts. Yeah, he still has some serious growing to do. Hide your kids, hide your wife.”
Darnell Mayberry’s notes from last night: “Durant’s eight-assist, zero-turnover performance was one of the night’s highlights. He made it a point to find his teammates tonight — and to correct the stat crew when they short-changed him an assist. Said Durant: “I’ve been working on that a lot. I’m noticing that if I start to pass the ball, points are going to come my way. Everything’s going to come back around.’”
Paul Flannery of WEEI says KD is a major storyline this year: “Whether he has been put in this position by a revved-up media looking for an antidote to The Decision or he is actively staking out this turf remains to be seen. But, while it’s an imperfect analogy, the potential for Durant-LeBron to be this era’s Bird and Magic is simply too good to ignore. His team might be a year away, but the time is now for Durant.”