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OKC Thunder: What's next for Kevin Durant?

Coming off an MVP season and a loss in the conference finals to the eventual NBA champs, Durant acknowledges that he ‘always can be better.’
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 17, 2014

A day after his most sensational season had come to a disappointing end, Kevin Durant was being asked how he’ll return even better.

At the time, he didn’t have an exact answer.

“It’s something I’m going to figure out,” Durant said. “Some different type of move that I’m going to figure out and try to master. But I’m just going to overall just try to get better, work on every single part of my game and bring it back to the team.”

Kendrick Perkins, Durant’s most outspoken teammate, didn’t mind offering up a specific suggestion.

Hit the weight room.

“I feel like he could get stronger, in my opinion,” Perkins said. “I think that would help him a lot. I told him all the good and great players that played the game, from Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, they all put size on them, and it helped them.”

More strength, Perkins said, will only benefit Durant’s body and set the stage for him to succeed in demanding times. For Durant, those include the need to be a better and more consistent defender, a more dependable low-post scoring threat and to persevere through seasons like this past one in which Durant’s minutes piled up to an outlandish league-leading tally.

“Seems like there was possessions he was tired,” Perkins said of Durant. “But, like I said, I think that’s (when) getting in the weight room plays a factor. Cause then you could let your body take over.”

In some ways, it seems silly to ask more of Durant when he already does so much for his team. He led the NBA in scoring this year for the fourth time in five seasons, carried the Thunder while Russell Westbrook missed nearly half the season and capped a marvelous regular season with his first league MVP award.

Yet we’re still asking Durant to do more, to be better.

But it’s essential. In order for the Thunder to claim its first championship, Durant acknowledges that he too must come back better.

“I always can be better,” he said.

Durant has added about 25 pounds since entering the league seven years ago, according to the Thunder’s roster. But there are still times that he gets bumped off his spot, pushed out beyond his preferred starting point offensively and backed in too deep defensively.

“It’s all in his mind,” Perkins said.

With starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha unlikely to return, the Thunder could be on the verge of losing its defensive safety net on the perimeter. In that case, it’ll be up to Durant and Russell Westbrook to step up and shoulder more of the responsibility on that end.

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