Even though an overwhelming majority of NBA general managers predicted him to win it, Kevin Durant said taking home this season's MVP award is not a personal goal of his.
"I don't set individual goals like that," Durant said. "The only goals I set for myself is to try to have a better season than I did last year. That's about it. I don't have to score more points, or get more rebounds or get more assists. But if I got better throughout the season is how I determine if I had a better season than last year."
In the league's annual preseason poll of NBA general managers, 66.7 percent of GMs picked Durant to win this year's MVP award. GMs were not permitted to vote for their own team or players. Durant, however, said the prediction doesn't mean anything for him.
"I mean, it's cool but it doesn't really mean too much," Durant said.
In the same poll, 55.6 percent of GMs selected Durant as the player they would sign first if they were starting a franchise from scratch. LeBron James finished second with 25.9 percent of the vote.
Other notable Thunder inclusion were Russell Westbrook tying Blake Griffin with 14.8 percent of GMs vote for the player who is most likely to have a breakout season, 63 percent picking the Thunder to win the Northwest division and Durant finishing fourth with 10.7 percent of votes for the player who forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments.
THUNDER VISITS U.S. SOLDIERS
Upon arrival in Fayetteville, N.C., the Thunder went directly to Fort Bragg, a nearby military base to visit U.S. troops. Players and coaches signed autographs, participated in a question-and-answer session and shooting games.
"That's something that we would like to do more," Durant said. "Those people sacrifice their lives for us to live in a great country like the U.S. To spend a little time with them was cool. We were all excited to see them and vice versa. It was a fun little period we had with them."
HIGH PRAISE FOR OKC
Bobcats coach Larry Brown showered praise on the Thunder franchise before the start of Wednesday's game, complimenting the organization for accumulating high-character players.
"I look at (Durant) and some of our young guys in the NBA and I think our league's in pretty good shape," Brown said. "And this team (the Thunder) probably is a testimony to that. Look at their young kids. They're not only terrific talents, they're better kids. They've done the greatest job of bringing in good kids that represent the league well. When they're talking about respect for the game, that team's a poster child for that. So the West better watch out."
BENEFITS OF BEING A BOBCAT?
When asked if the Bobcats received free copies of the recently released video game NBA 2K11, which has owner Michael Jordan on the cover, Charlotte guard Sherron Collins said the players haven't gotten a copy yet. But Collins said he is hopeful.
"We haven't been back (home) yet," Collins said. "But I ain't go lie to you. I'm hoping I got a free copy in that locker room. They're probably sold out throughout the country."
Thabo Sefolosha did not make the trip to North Carolina after becoming ill Tuesday in Oklahoma City. James Harden started at shooting guard Wednesday night. Sefolosha could join the team today in Kansas City....Former Thunder guard Shaun Livingston (knee) was in uniform but did not play for the Bobcats on Wednesday. Former OU forward Eduardo Najera (hernia) was inactive and also did not play....As part of a premeditated plan by coach Scott Brooks, Durant did not play in the second half.