Kevin Durant seems to have enjoyed development all across the board this summer, from his stature to his skills to his still scrawny frame.
After a frantic offseason — highlighted by a MVP-winning performance in Team USA's gold medal placing at the 2010 FIBA World Championship — the Thunder's star acknowledged his improvement at the team's media day Monday.
"I've gotten better, man," Durant said. "I think this is the first summer where I really seen the things I work on actually come into my game during the summer. I worked a lot on my ball-handling and posting up. I think in the FIBA games I showed that a little bit and I was able to become a better player handling the basketball and posting up. I got a long ways to go. I got to continue to keep pushing."
In addition to now being a favorite to win the MVP award, Durant returned to Oklahoma City with a visibly heavier frame. He said he is now up to 231 pounds and answered all lingering questions about his height by informing the media he is 6-10 and 6-9 1/2 without shoes after being measured Sunday.
NO SHIFT IN PHILOSOPHY
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said today's first day of training camp will be spent on much of the same things the team focused on last season, primarily a commitment to defense.
"We really want to get better in what we do," Brooks said. "Are we going to change things around? Very little. I think we have to improve on the things we worked on all of last year.... We have to be a defending team. We have multiple defenders now and that helps."
NBA teams are permitted to conduct six two-a-days. Brooks said he isn't sure whether he will put the team through two-a-days on all six days.
By the way some have obsessed over the Thunder this summer, you would think OKC is the best thing since the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. But Brooks says slow down.
"There's no doubt we are a good team," Brooks said. "I thought we had a good year last year. We won 50 games and the improvement was 27 games.... You can call me pessimistic, but I don't see a 27-game improvement this year. That's pretty hard to get. That's 77 and what? Help me with my math, five? 77-5 would be outstanding wouldn't it?"
Training camp signee Demond "Tweety" Carter, who starred at Baylor last season, explained his nickname Monday.
"When I was younger I used to cry a lot and my Godmother, I used to stay with her a lot, so my Godmother anytime I cried they would turn on the Tweety Bird show and I would just watch that and not cry. So I guess it started from there."
In addition to Carter, the Thunder signed former Connecticut guard Jerome Dyson and guard/forward Elijah Millsap, the brother of Utah forward Paul Millsap, to its training camp roster.... Single game tickets through Jan. 13 will go on sale on Monday at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $10 and a maximum of two seats per transaction will be made available for Chicago, Boston, Denver and Orlando.