And as they prepare to face the Thunder on Tuesday in a preseason game in Manchester (tip at 2 p.m. Oklahoma time on NBA TV), they'll get an up close look at a superstar and franchise that went through the same thing not too long ago.
One night after Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007, his new team shipped future Hall of Famer Ray Allen to Boston and, less than two weeks later, lost sharpshooter Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic.
“It was tough for me, especially coming in as a young player,” Durant told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. “I thought I was going to play with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis when they were All-Stars every year.”
Because of that, Durant said he can empathize with some of the young Sixers, who are entering a year that might mirror the 20-62 record that KD and the Sonics went through in 2007-08.
“Every game, it was tough knowing that it was going to be hard for us to win,” Durant told the paper. “But what we did was come in and work hard every day, and know that it was going to be a process and maybe a tough year ... You just have to keep pushing through it.”
VEGAS PEGS THUNDER AS WESTERN CONFERENCE FAVORITE
Las Vegas doesn't seem too worried about Russell Westbrook's lingering knee issues. Here are SportsBook's current odds to win the Western Conference:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder — 11/4 odds
2. Los Angeles Clippers — 4/1 odds
3. San Antonio Spurs — 9/2 odds
4. Houston Rockets — 11/2 odds
5. Golden State Warriors — 13/1 odds
6. Memphis Grizzlies — 15/1 odds
7. Dallas Mavericks — 15/1 odds
8. Denver Nuggets — 22/1 odds
9. Los Angeles Lakers — 35/1 odds
10. Minnesota Timberwolves — 50/1 odds
11. New Orleans Pelicans — 50/1 odds
12. Portland Trail Blazers — 65/1 odds
13. Sacramento Kings — 90/1 odds
14. Utah Jazz — 90/1 odds
15. Phoenix Suns — 250/1 odds
Kevin Durant, when asked if he'd spoken to Russell Westbrook about his rehab recently: “The only conversation I had with him is about his (Dallas) Cowboys taking a 'L' last night.”