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The Takeover - Kevin Durant in 2010

I watched the Lakers-Thunder game last night. Don't ask how I did, just know I did. Being one of like 17 actual Oklahoma City Thunder fans that don't reside in Oklahoma, its slow news for us Thundercats (I just made that name up). However, after watching Kobe go for his usual 34 on a hapless Thunder defense, I kept noticing someone coming back with an answer every time on the offensive end.

Kevin Durant.

KD35 is toiling in relative obscurity in OKC, but I'm here to tell you that if Thunder GM Sam Presti and the Thunder organization pull this off right, there could be an emerging powerhouse in the Sooner State. Something that the Bulls failed to pull off, and something that the TrailBlazers are currently embarking upon now.

Think about Durant and what he's done...I'll let ESPN's Bill Simmons break this out for us.

Durant won ROY playing for a disintegrating franchise and currently toils in obscurity in a new town for a team that is the dregs of the league. Yes, GM Sam Presti imploded the team like the Kingdome so he could start over with lottery picks and cap space, building a foundation for 2011. And yes, it's a smart move. But something weird happened in the process: We all stopped thinking about Durant. He's a nonentity. Ask the average fan to tell you who will be the best player in the NBA in three years, and the first five answers will be LeBron, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, D-Wade and either Rose or Carmelo. (Except in LA, where Lakers fans would go with the first three, then Bynum and Trevor Ariza.) I don't see Durant getting many votes. Um...does anyone realize he just turned 20 on Sept. 29, making him younger than Mayo? That he's breaking every scoring benchmark by age? That he's been averaging 26 points, eight rebounds, 48% shooting, 85% from the line and 43% on threes since Thanksgiving? Go online and check out his ESPN.com game log. Do it now. I'll wait.

(Twiddling my thumbs.)

Got it? Now look at those point totals: 28, 25, 26, 26, 28, 26, 25 … You know in Jaws when Richard Dreyfuss calls the shark an "eating machine"? Durant is a scoring machine. He was put on this earth to collect points. We have never seen anyone quite like him before: a 6'9" forward with Plastic Man arms, 30-foot range and the ability to thrive in big moments. He has more career buzzer-beaters than LeBron. Trust me, it's true.

Now realize this, the Thunder have TONS of cap space moving forward for 2009 and 2010. Having the opportunity to offer a max-deal to a big name player like a Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and others who will be available in the next 2 years. With the core of KD35, Jeff Green (averaging 18 and 7 in the last month), and Russell Westbrook, they are set at 3 of the 5 positions. They are looking to move one of their big men, Joe Smith, for emerging 2-guard John Salmons from Sacramento. So you're telling me that a Carlos Boozer at the 5 couldn't be a force? Bosh could do the same move in 2010, and be hours from his hometown (Dallas stand up).

Am I wrong about this? I dunno, but the Kevin Durant bandwagon is mighty empty right now, and I'm driving this sucker...get on board now before you become lame and get to the party too late.

Is he the breakout player for the 2010's? What about Rose? Mayo? Oden? Is LeBron going to utterly dominate this decade too like he's doing the 2nd-half of the 00's? Let me know your thoughts...

-Ed.
www.edthesportsfan.com

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