Durant Focused And Ready For 2012-13

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Ten or 20 years from now, when someone talks about 2012, it will be remembered as the breakthrough year for LeBron James. He won his first title, a third MVP and a second gold medal.

Thunder superstar Kevin Durant will be in the footnotes. He was there for almost all of the biggest moments, battling James and the Miami Heat in The Finals and joining forces with him on the gold medal ride in the London Olympics while making a statement of his own along the way.

But history won’t sugarcoat the fact that Durant broke out but didn’t break through that year.

That’s why Durant heads into the end of the summer with 2012-13 on his mind. He’s had enough of watching someone else hoist the hardware (Larry O’Brien) that he covets, even if it is his good friend and rival James.

Durant, even at 23, is keenly aware that the NBA clock waits for no man, that opportunity knocks for only so long before it moves on to the next one. There are no guarantees that you’ll get back to the big stage during the NBA season. There are too many men chasing that glory and far too many variables outside of one superstar’s control to make it a reality on a consistent basis.

Durant’s understanding of these things is what continues to drive him and what keeps him hungry, even with all that he has accomplished thus far. He’s got his eyes on the rest of the revamped Western Conference (Lakers), James and the Heat and whatever other challenges lie ahead in 2012-13. We get a little more from Durant courtesy of our main man Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

With his focus on an Olympic gold medal at the time of that trade, Durant initially declined to discuss how the Lakers’ moves could affect the Thunder’s hopes of returning to the NBA Finals next season. But now that he’s back home with a gold medal in hand, Durant says the “confident” Thunder are looking forward to the challenge posed by the new-look Lakers next season.

“People outside, fans, media, of course they are going to say [the Lakers are the favorites] because on paper they have the best lineup in the league. But you still got to play the games. We respect everybody. We are going to go through the league respecting everybody as well.

“We already view ourselves as an elite team, but we have to prove it again. Last year is over with.”

The Thunder knocked off the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season. Los Angeles, however, has replaced traded All-Star center Andrew Bynum and departed point guard Ramon Sessions for two perennial All-Stars in [Dwight] Howard and [Steve] Nash. The veteran Lakers have also added some depth in Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark while re-signing Jordan Hill and keeping Pau Gasol.

Meanwhile, the Thunder return wiser and more experienced after losing to the Heat in the NBA Finals. Oklahoma City has a nemesis of Howard’s in defensive-minded center Kendrick Perkins. Additionally, point guard Eric Maynor will return from injury and the Thunder have an intriguing rookie in Perry Jones III.

“It was a great move for [the Lakers],” Durant said. “[Howard] is the most dominant center in the league. It’s going to make it tough on other teams. But I like that challenge. We all like that challenge in OKC. It should be fun.

“That’s what the Lakers do. They make big moves. That’s part of their DNA.”

The Thunder have an established DNA as well. Much like the Heat, they are built to contend for titles for as long as their core group stays intact. (Serge Ibaka is going to be a part of that group for the foreseeable future while James Harden‘s situation is to be determined.)

With Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden all returning to the locker room with gold medals (Ibaka earned a silver with Spain in London) to go along with their experience from The Finals, The Thunder will begin this new season in the same place they finished the last one: right behind the Heat in the championship pecking order.

Even with all of their superstar additions, we’re not ready to vault the Lakers past this Thunder crew.

The best lineup in the league on paper doesn’t make you the best … as the Heat found out in the first year of their vaunted Big 3. It puts you in the conversation and even gives you favored status, but it’s like one wise young superstar said, “you have to prove it.”

52 Comments

  1. Amused says:

    Hopefully, KD wins multiple championships, as LBJ is certain to do. But whether KD wins his first ring in ’13 or not, here’s hoping he at least wins his first MVP award this year. One thing he definitely needs to work on, however, is his defense. It’s great that he tries; you can always tell that he is trying to work on the defensive side of the ball, as opposed to Melo, who has proven over and over again that he has no interest at all in defense. KD now needs to keep improving defensively in order to become more like the well-rounded superstar LeBron is.

  2. dre says:

    OKC ALL DAY. KD IS GOING TO WIN ABOUT FOUR CHAMPIONSHIP I MEAN COME ON HE IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA,NOBODY CAN STOP THE MAN FROM DOING WHAT EVER HE WANTS TO DO.AND I’VE HEARD ALL THE BAND WAGON LAKERS FANS COME OUT AND GIVE THERE OPINIONS ON THE LAKER, AND HOW BECAUSE THEY GOT DWIGHT HOWORD THEY ARE GOING TO BEAT US. WELL TO ALL THOSE BAND WAGON FANS I’M TELLING THAT DWIGHT HOWORD DOSE’NT MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE AND NEIHER DOSE OLD STEVE NASH SO TO ALL THE BAND WAGON FANS,AND ALL THE REAL LAKERS FANS GET READY BECAUSE OKC AIN’T GOING NOWHERE MY FIRENDS WE ARE HERE FOR GOOD. WESTBROOK IS GOING TO BE BETTER, KD IS GOING TO BE BETTER, IBAKA IS GOING TO GET BETTER IN THE POST, AND HARDEN WILL BE THE BEST SIXTH MAN IN NBA HISTORY. SO GET READY BECAUSE OKC IS ABOUT TO COME HARDER THIS YEAR THAN EVER BEFORE AND LIKE I SAID KD IS GOING TO GET RINGS NOT JUST A RING, RINGS!!!!!

  3. DesiFan says:

    I believe we have another Magic-Bird rivalry in the making.. Durant and Lebron have proved that they stand out from the crowd, and they both want to win, more than anything else.
    In the 80s, Magic-Bird dominated, until MJ came and took over.. Then there was Kobe, and now we’re finally back to a healthy rivalry between Durant and Lebron. Its like a 2-1-1-2 kinda thing if you know what I mean.
    (don’t mean to disrespect any of the dominant big men, but the forward/guards involved in rivalries are far more entertaining).

  4. kd35 says:

    listen here kevin durant is going to be the greatest player of all time he is better than than lebron james . Lebron is a football player on a basketball court just running into people and getting other people blocking fouls .Just for additional information the NBA finals were RIGGED so before you go praise lebron james look at the calls

  5. drdre23 says:

    everybody deserves a ring but this year gonna be taff lakers has really strong team and of course miami heat and not forget about the chicago bulls

  6. Edub says:

    Withing the next 5 years. Lebron may win one more, Kd will have one, Kobe might have 6, If the Bulls shape up, Rose could have 1, and either Spurs/Celtics will add one more.

  7. Dew says:

    With all due respect for OKC as well as all the other teams who improved this off season, no one mentions San Antonio. They had the best record and were 2 wins away going to the finals. They lost no one on that team. They might get something worthwhile trading Blair in the mean time. They also added Colo from France which should help out Parker and Mills in the back court. And yes, Mills will have a full training camp and full season. I am sure he will be a factor in the playoffs this year as well as he did not play in the playoffs much due to Pop wanting guys who understood playoff atmosphere. Mills can flat out play as we witnessed in the Olympics and not afraid to score in the moment like Gary Neal. Leonard also showed signs of being a great perimeter defender and is going to be in his 2nd season. Breakout year for that man if you ask me. Put him and Captain Jack at the same time, defense will be monstrous! I still think despite all the big moves, the resignings over the offseason, and everything else in between, the Spurs are still the deepest team right now. Spurs will give LA, OKC, or if given the chance, Miami, Boston or even Indiana a run for their money and most likely take it. The only thing stopping San Antonio right now at this point is Splitter’s free throw shooting. Haha!

  8. Dew says:

    Durant will get a ring. He is one of the best players, and in my sole opinion (I am sure I share this with every OKC fan out there), that KD is the best player in the world right now. I see him as a current version of the Ice Man Gervin. Tall, linky, and can flat out score. Difference here is, I think KD has an edge to totally dominate a game at any time in the clutch, and the ability to help his team go to the finals. He has the team mates to help him get there. Gervin might have been able to dominate, but did not have the talent on his team to beat the elite teams from back then. Wilt was just to good to be stopped. OKC can compete with any team including LA and Miami. With the exception of game 5, every finals game was close. Now with their experience and drive, with their youth, they might be liable to run everyone out of the gym next year.

  9. justyouwatch says:

    The Dude abides.

  10. Dudeabides says:

    Yeah ALm Rocker thats why mavricks got beat in 2011 right ? I thought basketball was about streaks. People sit around pointing the fingure and saying how its going to go down. but records are made to be broken, how many people here said heat would never win a ring? and belived it? how many belived heat would win a ring? will win 6 more? Point of view goes along was in basketball, for every basket that is sunk to win a game, or shot thats blocked, there is a call that is not given or a freethrow that never was…. Lets see what happens, NBA and Nsketball (if you like it or not is a young sport in the world) lets see where history will be made. Looking at the NBA these days i for one am not putting all my balls in one basket. And you earn a title, enough said look at lebron, the oh so hated lebron, give him his dew with the whole nba on his back he came back and got the job done. Charlie sheen would have been proud WINNING! Lets see if heat can defend that title :D

  11. usbuck says:

    Look,

    It’s all academic….LeBron is a beast and the best! He’s like the train in the Denzel movie, Unstoppable!

  12. troy says:

    he’ll get one.thats it. the league changes too quickly,everybody improves drasticly as u can see! upto a few months ago we would say its gonna be okc miami repeat, but no LA jump into the mix,and they favor okc ,definetly. then miami improved ,who’s next to improve?

    • lbj says:

      Juwan Howard will improve this coming season. I saw his workout preparing for this season. He will once dominate the paint again just like when he played in the bullets

  13. LBJ Fan says:

    The heat should trade Joel Anthony and Juwan Howard for Dwight Howard and lineup will be like this
    Pg=Dwayne Wade
    Sg=Ray Allen
    sf=Lebron James
    pf=Rashard Lewis
    c=Dwight Howard

  14. allan says:

    he’ll get a ring when kobe and lebron retires, but I do think he deserved to be 2012 MVP not lebron, sorry bron…

  15. Cedric says:

    No doubt the guy is a hard worker unfortunately he only focus on one end of the the court and you don’t win championship with your offense the difference comes in defending your basket which they did not understand last season. And by the way Ibaka also needs to work his defense because the guy doesn’t have any skills in one on one defense but is a good helper

  16. OBLAKS says:

    KD had a chance to win a tile last year, but this year i dont think so because lakers will beat them in the playoff …GO LAKERS

  17. michael jordan says:

    what is the diffrence between lebron and a basketball court. lebron has 1 ring , basketball court have two rings.haha

  18. swissboi says:

    KD can get a championship ring if he will be in boston roster at this point in time… :)

  19. ALm Roker says:

    kobe is on decline… he need help always did and always will.. heats lebron got better butv dwayne and chris are all broke down .. to many injury they are on decline.. it looks like lakers but a few a other team look good to… especially west.. east improve a little but west from 1990s have always being a dog fight.. given the team out of the east a advantage.. if i just finish fightimg a champion and you a scrub .. and your good who is most likely put up a better fight .

  20. lakermig says:

    its still too early to say how the lakers will play and if howard will be at 100% anytime soon but if they do mesh and start playing well from this year all i can say is its gonna be an exciting playoff this season with the west finals nearly definitely being Lakers vs OKC and that would be a very entertaining series and i STILL think OKC can take miami and lakers can also do it.
    I am a bit biased towards lakers obviously but i have to say if the team is playing well come playoff time and each individual starting player is playing to their highest level or at least very close no team can hold a candle to us with two 7 footers technically two 3pt shooters in nash and mwp and a nba legend albeit at 33/34 not to mention the only two teams posing a serious threat have little to no defense. esp on the inside

  21. PMN says:

    every player who works hard to win deserves a ring.

  22. Isaac says:

    Just cause Durant is a great talent doesn’t mean he will win a ring. They are already talking about getting rid of Harden or Perkins which will weaken the team. There were tons of great talents, ones better then him, that did not win a ring barkley,stockten,malone.

  23. dimirije says:

    The voting says Durant is going to win 1-2 titles, prove the doubters wrong KD.

  24. tyrone says:

    The only way Durant could probably get past the LA Lakers is unless PJ III, Harden, and the entire bench ends up having a strong production which can match LA’s bench who has Jamison, three pointer meeks, Former Knicks Duhon, etc. If Thunder wants to win only luck can solve it this year against LA if the starting five gets in a cold streak and all that then the Thunder can face the Heat and since OkC has face the Heat once, they would be more familier of Miami’s style of play and the only other thing they have to watch out against Miami is the world’s greatest three point shooter: Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Just because those legends didn’t get it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it, the were the best in the league for a reason! They did deserve a title you dog!

  26. James says:

    It’s tough because the Thunder have to face the Lakers and (if they make it to the Finals) the Heat. Both teams are studded with stars and the Thunder are a very young team with less experience than other teams. However in the next five years, Durant will lead his team to the Finals and will hopefully win.

  27. Joseph_03 says:

    Durant is the only player close to Kobe who is obsessed at improving his game every year. on the offensive end of the floor, there is no doubt that KD will be the single most unstoppable offensive force in the NBA. You can make arguments for LBJ, Melo and Kobe, but as far as I’m concerned it’s KD. The only thing he needs to improve is his playmaking skills on the offensive end, so it’s not all Russel Westbrook and James Harden.

    All I hope to see is that KD develops on the defensive end of the floor, he may not be able to body up and out muscle on power players like LBJ, Griffin, and Melo. However, there ain’t no SF in the league who is as athletic and long as KD. Once he realizes how to bother with length on defense, Once he learns to do that, imagine how good OKC can be if he develops that? They’ll suffocate opposing teams ala Miami Heat and on the bright side is that they won’t be really playing small ball compared to MIami. Theoretically OKC has two agile and athletic seven footers in Durant and Ibaka, So whether they play small ball or traditional ball, their deadly so long as KD develops his defense more.

  28. LBJ6 says:

    KD is a great talent, but right now it all about Lebron. Kobe is on the the decline and i think you will see Lebron own the NBA for about 4-5 before KD takes over. All in all I think that he will win 2-3 titles once he seize control.

  29. QuestionMark says:

    Durant better be ready to win the MVP and again the scoring title next season, he lost to the Heat and has something to prove this season, of course Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka also has something to prove, but Durant has to set the tone. Will KD win MVP? I think so, he has a chip on his shoulder, and to get it off he has to play harder and better than last season, and of course with Howard and Nash in LA, Kobe’s scoring average will go down, meaning the scoring title is a wrap for KD.

    • gggggggggg says:

      as if Kobe is still chasing a scoring title.

      • Edub says:

        Right, forgetting the fact that Kobe basically gave it to KD. He could’ve easily have scored 37 points against the Kings if he wanted to.

    • Wilt #13 says:

      Its funny that when lebron tried to prove something when you moved to miami he got a really big hate , so I think durant just need to work hard and try not to prove something , Just like lerbron THIS season . Play with love and not try to prove something.

  30. wasmaz says:

    Unless he decides to play defense, he will never win. I think a main reason okc lost to miami is that Durant could not guard Lebron, Harden had to do it, which affected Harden’s offense.

  31. Rocabye says:

    Why do ppl say this? Basketball has proven that the same couple teams will make a run at the championship for multiple years in a row. Why are we all pretending that this is not the case lol

    • D Lion says:

      Because of teams like Portland. Portland was supposed to be the next powerhouse in the West with Oden, Roy, and Aldridge. We all know where that wound up. I’m not trying to be a naysayer, but OKC would be a lottery team if for some reason they lost, say, Durant and Ibaka.

  32. Kevin says:

    He’ll win RINGS in his career

    • dattebayo says:

      Didn’t they say the same thing about Vinsanity and T-Mac? He might win 1, he might win win more than Kobe and he might be the next Charles Barkley, only time will tell…

  33. jyl says:

    He’s winning a ring in his career, he deserves it.

    • Mike says:

      Deserves it??….no one deserves it. How about Charles, Malone, Stockton, Ewing, Mullins, Reggie, Nash, Dwight, G Hill, Kemp and other who “deserves it”….You win because that team is better than 29 other teams.

      • me- says:

        Actually if he really commits and puts in work and effort and more, one could say that he deserves it. But then again, just cos you deserve something does not mean that you will have it.

      • Mike .. copy that! says:

        Who said so Durant “deserves a title”? Life ain’t fair … and i agree 100% when some of the NBA’s greatest went a whole career without a ring. No-one is owed a thing in this Life – and nothing is free in this world except the grace of the Almighty. JYL, you can take that to the bank.

      • BBaller says:

        Yes Durant deserves it and those players deserves it too but they were just unfortunate to not get it. Any player who excel above others deserves to win the title its just that not all who deserves it gets it. Understood?

      • D Lion says:

        @ Mike…copy that!

        Amen bro! And about deserving a ring, the player that “deserves” a ring more than any other (current) is Nash, because he is a great player, a high-character guy, and he didn’t demand to be traded when PHX didn’t do well. However, those who truly “deserve” a ring are the key players on championship teams. Winning a championship is the only thing that merits a ring.

      • TJ says:

        How is Kemp’s name deserved to be mentioned with the rest of them? The guy was a dunker and that’s about it, the poor man’s Dominique Wilkins.

      • agree with you….Don’t forget Arvydas Sabonis and Drazen Petrovic…the two greatest european players of all time

      • Ben says:

        It’s true, no-one deserves to win the championship. It’s not like its a right, taking that to the nth degree you could say none of us deserve a life where we have modern comforts and internet when there are starving people in Africa. But, put in the context purely of comparing NBA players, apples with apples, Durant does deserve to win a championship, just as much as anyone you could name. His work ethic, leadership, determination and skill set have put him there. That is not to say that those you have listed deserve a ring less than Durant – or that getting a ring is proof you deserved it. But lets not take away from Durant that he is a guy that people will look back on and say its sad he didnt get a ring’ if he never gets one.

      • spurk says:

        theres no i in team ….
        you cant win a championship with one guy …

        look at lebron james . it took him like what 9 years
        and they call him the king ….???

        he is the best there is .. but he didnt win the tittle by himself

    • lbj says:

      as long as the big 3 in miami are intack there is no way that durant will get a ring. if he wants to get a ring he needs to play with the king “LeBron”. we will trade haslem,anthony and future round picks for durant.

      PG: Wade
      SG: Allen
      SF: James
      PF: Durant
      C: Bosh

      6th man: Battier
      Strong reserve: Chalmers,Cole,Miller,Lewis and Juwan Howard

      • Wilt #13 says:

        Listin brother, you arent a HEAT fan .
        I am a HEAT fan and I know thats the most stupid idea ever made.
        First of all , Miami doesnt have any money for a player like durant.
        Miami wont win more then 4 rings with the big 3 cuz you need to think about wade’s age and allen’s aswell.
        and about haslem and anthony they are really not worth any player , dont even think about durant.

        Stop making bad names for HEAT fanz.

      • Durantula says:

        omg you are a beast !!! lol its so hilarious people think you’re actually serious.