Durant will get even stronger as he’s continues to work with a personal dietician, hits the weights and continues to work on his strength and conditioning. His steady improvement this season (see chart) is a sign he should continue to improve across the board.
So how good can Durant become in a couple of years?
“He will improve,” said Brooks. “Players generally improve until their 30 and then they maintain what they have. Without injuries he could have a long career. Whether his scoring goes up, I don’t know. But his ability to make shots on demand will go up. His ability to get stops on demand will go up.”
With one game left in January — tonight’s road game at Utah — Durant is averaging 27.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and is getting to the free-throw line 8.6 times a game this month. Those are All-Star stats for a seasoned veteran, much less a 20-year-old rising star far from reaching his prime.
“I don’t forget that he’s 20,” Brooks said. “I like the fact Kevin understands the game and respects the game. He does that through hard work. Guys that take advantage of the game, when the offensive part of the game comes easy to them, they sometimes don’t work as hard.
“But Kevin works at it. He has a special talent offensively but he works hard after practice. That quote he gave (about not being an All-Star until he leads the Thunder to more wins) says a lot about who he is.”
Oklahoma City fans knew the NBA team that relocated last summer from Seattle would lose a lot of games early. They also knew they were blessed to inherit a franchise player that should develop into a superstar.
“I could be doing a lot better. I could be doing a lot more to help my chances,” Durant said. “I’m the type of guy that if I’m working hard I like to see the benefits. I know that may not happen but if I continue to work hard hopefully I can be an All-Star before my career is over.”