Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson go way back, to their days at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, when the future NBA cornerstones roomed together in their prep school dorm.
“We been through a lot together, man,” Durant said. “Been up through everything together as friends.”
So it's not surprising that, when given the platform at Tuesday's shootaround, the Thunder star served as the spokesman for the Nuggets guard's All-Star campaign.
“He should be (an All-Star), in my opinion,” Durant said, later explaining: “He's not one of those sexy names like Russell Westbrook or Stephen Curry. He just started to become one of those guys you depend on as a point guard. He was behind Chauncey (Billups) his first few years, and he's eased his way into the starting lineup. Now he's turned into a star. So, give it a few more games and you'll start hearing Ty Lawson's name all the time because he's having a great season.”
HOMECOMING FOR TWO
At Tuesday's shootaround in Denver, two Thunder players garnered a bit more attention than usual.
Both Reggie Jackson, from nearby Colorado Springs, and Andre Roberson, a three-year star at the University of Colorado, were crowded by media members when the session opened.
Roberson, whose decision to leave CU a year early was criticized locally, was asked whether he felt he had proved the naysayers wrong.
“Not really,” Roberson said. “They just didn't really know what was going on in the whole process. They were just looking from the outside-in. They didn't really have the same information as me. So, it's understandable that some people were disappointed that I left, but I had to do what's best for me and my family.”
Jackson, who was recruited by CU but chose Boston College, said he was expecting “a couple dozen” family and friends in the stands on Tuesday night.
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, reminiscing about his old college basketball showdowns with Thunder coach Scott Brooks: “He was at UC Irvine and I was at Santa Barbara. He was always a feisty competitor, could shoot the ball. Much like Nate Robinson, you look at him and say ‘He's a little guy, I'm going to have my way with him.' But he wasn't going to back down from you.”
The Thunder returns to OKC on Thursday, with a chance to extend its perfect 12-0 home mark against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. Then it's right back on the road, with an intriguing Thunder-Spurs matchup set for Saturday night in San Antonio.