Share “Oklahoma City Thunder: Western...”

Oklahoma City Thunder: Western Conference's changing landscape hasn't shaken Kevin Durant's confidence

Kevin Durant, speaking at his fifth annual basketball camp Friday, returned to Oklahoma carrying unwavering confidence and commitment, in himself, his teammates and their combined abilities to keep the Oklahoma City Thunder atop the conference standings.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: August 10, 2013
Advertisement

photo - NBA BASKETBALL: NBA BASKETBALL / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrates in the final seconds during Game 1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
NBA BASKETBALL: NBA BASKETBALL / CELEBRATION: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrates in the final seconds during Game 1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 5, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

In the meantime, you won't catch Durant voicing any disappointment or displeasure in team decisions. He labeled an ESPN.com report that he walked off during an interview last month when asked to assess the franchise's moves overblown. As he walked off, Durant reportedly said “I love it,” his tone apparently leaving reporters left guessing about his true feelings.

“I didn't mean anything by that,” Durant said. “I love it. I love who we're bringing in. I love the coaching we have here. And whoever comes in here, no matter what they've done before, we're going to change them into a Thunder player, which is a character guy, a guy that's going to work hard every single day and is going to be a great teammate.

“Those guys (the media), I really don't care what they have to say about our team and what they think we need because they never stepped on the court and played and been in battle. I've been there and I know what we need on this team and I know that we have it. And I trust in Sam Presti and Troy Weaver and those guys in the front office to put great players around us all.”

Other teams have stolen the headlines and shifted the attention from the Thunder this summer thanks to their splashy moves and OKC's untimely second-round exit.

Houston landed Dwight Howard in free agency. The Los Angeles Clippers plucked coach Doc Rivers from Boston, while also adding J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison. Golden State added Andre Iguodala, Jermaine O'Neal and Marreese Speights. Denver welcomed J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur, Nate Robinson and Randy Foye. New Orleans netted Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Anthony Morrow.

But the unspoken belief in Oklahoma City, seemingly led by Durant's quiet confidence, is those teams are playing catch up.

It's the Thunder that still possesses the conference's most talented roster, the Thunder that has improved its winning percentage in five consecutive seasons and the Thunder that advanced farther in the playoffs for three straight seasons before an unfortunate injury to Westbrook derailed that progression this past season.

And it's Oklahoma City that Durant is eager to prove the Western Conference still goes through.

“If you don't win then people tend to forget about you and they don't think you're as good,” Durant said. “That's how it is. We know the name of the game. We just got to go out there and do what we do.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Father who reportedly gave children prescription drugs jailed on neglect charge
  2. 2
    OU football: DeMarco Murray purchased iMacs for the Dallas Cowboys offensive line
  3. 3
    26 Percent Of Young Women Report That They Have Been Stalked Online
  4. 4
    UNC Officials Failed To Stop 18-Year Long Student Athlete Academic Fraud: Report
  5. 5
    New 'Autopsy' Reveals Big Surprises About Boy King
+ show more