“Yeah,” Bryant said. “I think Kevin obviously is a fantastic player, but we played against them several times, and James was a really big problem.”
Durant started out the season on a quest to expand his overall game by grabbing more rebounds collecting more assists and taking fewer shots.
Evidently, there were no growing pains for Durant, who was named Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in October and November.
“I appreciate the award,” Durant said. “I never want to take stuff like that for granted, but I'm really not concerned about it too much. I'm just trying to grow as a player and help my team win. That's all I'm concerned with.”
In November, Durant ranked second overall in scoring at 26.5 points, shot 51.0 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from the 3-point line, 89.3 percent from the free-throw line, while averaging 8.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 blocks. He also recorded his first career triple-double — 25 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists — in a 119-109 victory over Golden State on Nov. 18.
Westbrook also was nominated for the Western Conference award. Miami's LeBron James was named Eastern Conference player of the month.
Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha is a career 44.1 percent shooter from the field and a 33.6 percent shooter from 3-point range. So far this season, he is shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 46.3 percent from 3 point range.
“Well, don't jinx him,” Durant said of Sefolosha. “It's good that he's taking those shots with confidence. It doesn't matter if he's shooting 35 percent or 46 percent, we just want him to shoot those open shots. We want to continue to keep giving him confidence every single day, every single game, keep passing it to him. He's working on his game before practice, after practice, so hopefully he keeps making them.”
Bryant when asked what characteristics Durant and Westbrook have beyond their skill set that makes Bryant believe they're the NBA's next torchbearers: “They just don't give a (bleep). That's really it. Not too many players have had that. Michael (Jordan) had it. I had it. Durant has it. Westbrook has it. They just don't care about pressure situations or criticism. It's rare.”