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Kevin Durant's development continues after whirlwind summer

How much of an impact will the momentum Kevin Durant gained this summer have on 2010-11?
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: September 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm •  Published: September 18, 2010

The questions have disappeared.

You remember them.

Kevin Durant does, too.

The Oklahoma City Thunder's star couldn't escape them in his first three years as a budding star.

As a rookie it was, "Can he bench press 185 pounds?" As a sophomore it was, "Can he do anything other than score?" As a third-year sensation it was, "Can he hit the big shot?" and "Will he ever play any defense?" After his first playoff series, some quietly questioned whether Durant was even the best player on his team.

Funny how much has changed in 20 weeks. Now, after a smashing, successful offseason, Durant is hearing his name mentioned in conversations and debates over the best player in the world.

Since the first-round exit at the hands of the eventual back-to-back champion Lakers, Durant has been on a two-part mission.

Act I: Become a better player.

Act II: Turn those doubters into believers.

Check. And check.

No one is questioning Durant any longer. His performance in the FIBA World Championship squashed questions of Durant's leadership and big-game moxie. Durant's physical play against Russians, Greeks and Turks remedied all remaining suspicion that he might be too soft to battle through the brunt of playoff basketball.

Durant's record-breaking, MVP-winning performance as the leader of the USA's gold-medal winning squad in the FIBA World Championship put a ribbon on his whirlwind summer. It showed the world each and every one of its questions about his game was premature. And it set the stage for what many see as the Season of Durant.

But let's pose one final question.

Will any of Durant's development, any of his showstopping shooting streaks, crucial, crunchtime moments or his heart-wrenching haymakers this summer mean anything come November or, more importantly, May and June?

Durant, deservedly, has been adorned with accolades this summer. But when training camp starts next Tuesday, commendations won't count for anything if he doesn't show up on the court.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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By the numbers

Kevin Durant's statistical production at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

6.1: Rebounds Durant averaged in nine world championship games.

7: Made 3-pointers in the championship game against Turkey, a tournament record.

14: Made field goals in the semifinals against Lithuania, a USA single-game record.

22.8: Scoring average in nine games, a USA tournament record.

28: Points scored in championship game against Turkey.

38: Points scored against Lithuania, a USA single-game record and tournament high.

45.6: Percent shooting from behind the 3-point line.

55.6: Percent shooting from the field.

91.2: Percent shooting from the foul line.

205: Total points scored, a U.S. record for the FIBA World Championship.

254: Minutes played over nine games, an average of 28.2.

The Summer of Durant

A snapshot of Kevin Durant's summer schedule

May 2: Finished second in MVP voting behind LeBron James.

May 6: Named to the All-NBA First Team.

May 13-16: Visits Arizona to see teammate James Harden.

May 16-21: Los Angeles.

May 21-May 31: Washington, D.C.

June 1: Departed Washington, D.C. for China for a three-city Nike tour.

June 2-4: Beijing.

June 5: Chengdu.

June 6-7: Shanghai.

June 8: Returned to New York from China trip.

June 22: Unveiled as the cover athlete for NBA Elite 11 while in New York.

June 24: Attended the NBA Draft in New York and worked as a reporter for NBA TV.

June 27-29: Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Chicago.

June 30-July 2: Kids camp at Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City.

July 1: Agreed in principle to a five-year contract extension with the Thunder.

July 4-8: Attended the Orlando Pro Summer League.

July 8: Signs five-year contract extension in downtown Oklahoma City.

July 17-25: Las Vegas for Team USA training camp.

July 25-27: Meetings with EA Sports in Vancouver, Canada.

Aug. 6: Unveils "Durant's Den," a lounge/game room at his hometown Seat Pleasant Activities Center, one year after donating $25,000 to the recreation center.

Aug. 9-16: In New York for Team USA's second training camp and the inaugural World Basketball Festival.

Aug. 16-22: Team USA moves camp to Madrid, Spain for two exhibitions.

Aug. 23-26: Team USA travels to Athens, Greece for its final exhibition.

Aug. 28-Sept. 12: Durant and Team USA compete in the FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey. Durant wins tournament MVP after leading the USA to the gold medal.

Durant's top tweets of summer

"Congrats to LeBron James on winning back 2 back MVPs...he really deserved it!!" — Sunday, May 2.

"What a great honor for me to be named 1{+s}{+t} team all NBA...I'm so blessed man! Very humbling...gotta keep working to be better." — Thursday, May 6

"Woulda been my graduation day from The University of Texas! But instead I'm laying in the bed playing NCAA football on xbox." — Saturday, May 8.

"It's gonna be a interesting summer!" — Thursday, May 13

"Good workout...worked on ballhandling, finishing thru contact, pull up jumpers, pick n rolls, and making tough shots with a man on me!!!" — Wednesday, May 26

"Man I'm outchea in china sleep walking, I'm so tired! Leaving tomorrow heading to new york..." — Sunday, June 6

"I am so excited about the opportunity to represent my country in the World Championships...i'm wearing number 5...yesssirrrr!!!" — Wednesday, June 9

"Extension for 5 more years wit the thunder...God is Great, me and my family came a long way...I love yall man forreal, this a blessing!" — Wednesday, July 7

"B-team huh?? Haaaaa we got it done....US, seat pleasant, dc, Oklahoma city...we did it for yall...GOLD MEDALIST" — Sunday, Sept. 12.


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