J.A. Adande with a big feature on KD and LeBron: “Such is the overstated scale of this Miami Heat team that a simple exhibition game can become a litmus test of who will be the upcoming season’s most valuable player and, to a greater extent, a battle between good and evil. We know LeBron James can win the MVP; he’s done it the past two season. But fans, media and personnel people around the league are ready to anoint Kevin Durant, primarily based on his gold medal-winning turn at the world championships. As one scout said, “It’s his time.” It’s not only that people expect Durant to win the MVP this season. It’s about people wanting or even needing him to win. It’s commitment to stay versus a Decision to leave, Twitter versus ESPN, humility versus narcissism. Durant is what we want the NBA to be, LeBron is the reality of what it actually is. Men wish LeBron would act like Durant the way women wish Brad Pitt never left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie.” Pretty weird though he (and others are doing it too) drew some conclusions on the debate based off a preseason game.
Kevin Durant filmed a commercial spot with Degree deodorant and if you recall on Twitter a few weeks back, KD mentioned how he was doing a commercial for Deo-Durant. So that’ll be fun.
Rick Bucher and Chris Broussard debate who is the greatest challenger to the Lakers: “Bucher: Thank you for setting me up. My biggest reservation about the Thunder being capable of upsetting the Lakers is that they’ve never won a playoff series. Knowing what it takes to close out an opponent is crucial — as is winning a playoff game on the road, playing from behind in a series, etc. — and a team or star who’s never done it is at a disadvantage. But because you agree that the Thunder will have one of the best records in the West, they won’t face the Lakers until they’ve already won a round or two. So then it will come down to matchups, and that’s where the Thunder can create more problems for the Lakers than anybody else.”
Darnell Mayberry: “A major development has emerged for the Thunder this preseason, and it could be the most important thing to track as the exhibition schedule marches on. Kevin Durant is now being deployed at different positions. In the final weeks before his fourth regular season begins, Durant is working to become more dangerous by developing his skills at multiple spots on the floor. It’s a progression that could soon make the Thunder’s offense a terror and its defense more dynamic. Against Miami on Friday, Durant played all five positions. He started at his customary small forward spot, ran point guard late in the first quarter and slid to power forward midway through the second quarter.”
Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld on what KD has to do to win MVP: “For a player like Durant to reach that plateau, he may need to do more than put up herculean numbers. Bryant and Wade have had monster seasons that were overlooked because of strong but not spectacular team record. Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder won 50 games, finishing eighth in the West and 15th overall. Can another scoring title and overall brilliant season be enough to anoint Durant MVP? Even if the Thunder climb 10 spots to finish fifth? Precedence is not always significant. Kevin may win the award as an outlier – or the Thunder may be good enough to climb into the top three.”
Mayberry with thoughts on Friday’s game: “Where we saw the difference between LeBron and Durant came in the third quarter. LeBron put away the Thunder with his playmaking and all-around dominance. Durant was taken out of the game when he no longer could score. KD has attracted a lot of hype, but these are the types of things he readily admits he needs to get better at. And it’s why he still says there are several other players who are better than him even as many view him as a top five player.”