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Kevin Durant: Preordained

Jun 7, 2012, 2:48 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Six

It was always going to be like this.

Build your skill set in the comfort of a rebuilding team with low expectations. Take the next step as an exciting bad team in a new environment with a surprisingly rabid crowd. Make the jump to the playoffs and put a shock on the champs, showing that you’re coming. Learn what disappointment is in a Conference finals loss to a stellar team that would go on to win the NBA championship. Come back stronger. Smarter. Better. Win your division. Beat the team who beat you last season. Beat the team who beat you the year before. Beat the standard bearer in the West.

Advance to the NBA finals with a rousing 107-99 comeback victory.

Take your place.

This is Kevin Durant, and he was always destined for this.

From the moment he stepped onto the scene, from D.C. to Austin, Texas to Oklahoma City, this was coming. He even came with the big debate about him or another player who wound up star-crossed. This is how legends are built in the NBA, and now it’s Durant’s time for ascension.

There will be no questions about Kevin Durant going without a field goal in the fourth quarter of Game 6. Because Wednesday night was not about one game. It was about five years of building, five years of development, five years of smart drafting and player development by Thunder general manager Sam Presti, five years of a small city buying in, five years of Durant game-winners, big shots, and prolific performances.

There will be comparisons to Michael Jordan in 1991, to the greats in this game over time. There will be questions of whether he’s ready to win the NBA finals, or whether this team can really get it done.

But do not be confused. What has happened in the middle of the okra fields in Oklahoma is not some smoke-and-mirrors job. It’s not about a falsehood built on a dream. This is reality. It’s been coming for years.

Durant’s game is a force of its own now. It’s not just the swift shooting, the range, the quick release. He has added so many weapons. He’s able to make the smart play. He’s able to slip the screen. He finishes with authority, he presses when he senses vulnerability and he hesitates when the defense adjusts. And he defends. Tenaciously, using those long arms and quick feet. He’s no longer the skinny-waist kid throwing up threes. He’s the skinny-waist man playing a complete game. This is the nexus of Kevin Durant and it’s a sight to behold.

When the Thunder faced a double-digit deficit at halftime on Wednesday and it appeared the Spurs would push the series back to San Antonio and a miserable Game 7, Durant set the tone. Immediately in the third, he sparked the team. He finished with 14 points in the quarter, missing two shots and a field goal on 11 total attempts from the field and stripe.

Durant can do all those other things now, that’s why he’s a different player. But he’s also the same. He’s a scorer. That’s his core.  And these playoffs have been about huge shots from Durant, his range burying the opponent, his length rattling them. Durant is the best offensive weapon in the league, and that’s why the Thunder are moving on.

Who’s to say the Thunder won’t get beaten in the finals, another step that Durant and company have to live through in his career? What if the Thunder’s good fortune runs out? No one remembers teams that make the finals and lose. Durant could fall by the wayside, could become just another team that reached the gates but couldn’t get through — another almost st0ry.

But somehow, this feels different, this year or next, the year after or the year after. This is all part of the plan. This is the story of Kevin Durant.

And it was always going to be this way.

  1. kvanhorn87 - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    And with all of this predetermined, he is still 1000 times more like able than Lebron. Watching the games in OKC is an event. Both are breaths of fresh air. For that, true basketball fans should rejoice. The star that was stuffed down our throats can not break the barrier and the one who grew into his role with some humility is about to take his crown. Rejoice the King is coming!

    • jesse285 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      It look like it might be close but my money is on the heat if they get the Boston off their back,there are so many foul that the umpire don’t call. But these two team the heat and Okla seen to be the best for this short year.

  2. zillabeast - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    So what you’re saying is, they have a chance?

    • teamobijuan - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      Man I love watching Thunder home games on the TV at home. The fans drown out the announcers. It’s awesome.

  3. funktron2x - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    KD has arrived. And if he keeps his head on straight and doesn’t get hurt, he will have a real chance at overtaking Jordan’s rings and mantle. I have no hesitation in saying he is the best basketball player on the planet and can still get better. This Spurs fan is sad tonight, but at least we lost to the best, and at least the best is full of class and grace. Go on Thunder, start your dynasty. And keep doing it with class and grace.

  4. Nirmalya Ghosh - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Reblogged this on Sports Corner.

  5. jackbang - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Some slight anti-Lebron overtones maybe?

  6. rickyspanish - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    kvanhorn87

    You and people like you are too obsessed with LeBron, do you ever start to feel a little creepy for bringing his name up in an article he wasn’t mentioned? At the core of it, he’s just some dude playing basketball for obscene amounts of money.
    Time to move on.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      Preordination is a bogus hoook to hang an article on. There is nothng preordainedor inevitable about the whole thing though it may seem so in hindsight which is after alll 20-20. The succcessss is coming about asa result of work AND talent.

    • lucky5934 - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Hard to move on when LeBron says “We played good enough to give ourselves a chance to win. That’s all you can ask for.” Lebron began the attention seeking behavior with his move to Miami. The media took to that like a bloodhound. Now he makes comments like the one above and all of a sudden we are suppose to forget he is failing at the one objective that drove him to commit to the media circus he arranged by heading to Miami? I can tell you this… his lack of killer drive and mentality to take over a game is what we see in most big games the last two years. Until he finishes on top, and subsequently stops being satisfied with “giving ourselves a chance to win”, the media and fans will continue to harp on him.

  7. p1nch3dloaf - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    It’s great to see a quiet assassin like Durant tear up the league with humility…as oppose to some nostrildumazz predicting not one…not two…not three…not four….not five…you get the picture.

  8. abchome - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    The real Chosen One

  9. carolinakid - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    “Durant’s game is a force of its own now. It’s not just the swift shooting, the range, the quick release. He has added so many weapons. He’s able to make the smart play. He’s able to slip the screen. He finishes with authority, he presses when he senses vulnerability and he hesitates when the defense adjusts. And he defends. Tenaciously, using those long arms and quick feet. He’s no longer the skinny-waist kid throwing up threes. He’s the skinny-waist man playing a complete game. This is the nexus of Kevin Durant and it’s a sight to behold.”

    Just about sums it all up. Very well said Matt.

  10. j0esixpack - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    OKC and their fans deserve to bask in the glow of winning the West.

    And while this young energetic talented but also savvy team is going to be the HEAVY favorite against the East, they need to remind themselves that the Heat hold that same advantage against the older, injured, slow Celtics… and they’re currently down 3-2 in the series.

    But this team looks to be on top in the West for a very long time so I have no doubt they’ll be seeing many titles, much to the chagrin of those clowns who predicted dominance for the Lakers this season and into the future.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      yeah..it sucks my Lakers didn’t make the Finals this year but we in LaLa Land will be okay…as we have been for over 25+ years…

      Laker fans know we can’t win it every year. and as far as predicting dominance this season…it was not farfetched…now a Kings, Bucks, or Raptors fan saying that would be questionable…but the lakers to say that? nah…its warranted. I’m sure Celtics fans are saying the same…

      • lyndseymarieee - Jun 8, 2012 at 1:07 AM

        That had nothing to do with the comment you replied to…

      • loungefly74 - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        “much to the chagrin of those clowns who predicted dominance for the Lakers this season and into the future.” said by joesixpack…

        @lyndseymarieee – i was commenting on that quote he made…

  11. thundercatmike - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    Dear Matt Moore,

    Just because the Seattle Supersonics aren’t around anymore doesn’t mean you can wipe them from history. Both Durant AND Westbrook were drafted by the late great Supeaggggg

  12. loungefly74 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Congrats to the Thunder.

  13. tomtravis76 - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Didnt think OKC was ready, but damn they are real good. OKC is a fun team to watch, would like to see them play the Heat in the finals, so much talent on the floor, but Miami doesnt seem to have what OKC has to execute and want to dominate.

  14. cantonbound13 - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    Durant is clutch. The real MVP.

  15. acdc363 - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    Another solid article Mr. Moore!

  16. florida727 - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    It’ll either be Durant v. KG and Westbrook v. Rondo

    or

    Durant v. LeBron and Westbrook v. Wade

    Either way, basketball fans win.

  17. tampajoey - Jun 7, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    “Build your skill set in the comfort of a rebuilding team with low expectations. Take the next step as an exciting bad team in a new environment with a surprisingly rabid crowd. Make the jump to the playoffs and put a shock on the champs, showing that you’re coming. Learn what disappointment is in a Conference finals loss to a stellar team that would go on to win the NBA championship. Come back stronger. Smarter. Better. Win your division. Beat the team who beat you last season. Beat the team who beat you the year before”

    … do you mean that you just can’t go the easy path and take your talents to South Beach?

    Exactly why most ‘real’ NBA fans hate the Miami Heat. This OKC TEAM would destroy the Heat in the Finals.

  18. reineki - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    KD shots are hard to block!! stunning player! what else would I say..

  19. bigzant82 - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    i feel bad for u old seattle fans ya team n owner screw u over and leave 4 years ago and now look ya odl team in the finals with decent chance to win it all ITS SUCKS TO BE SEATLTE SPORTS FAN beisdes the SEAHAWKS BEING DECENT WITH THEM UGLY UNIFORMS lol and the Mariners unless u get another K-Griff,A-Rod or Big Unit again they will suck too

    • itsmammoth - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Sefalosha, Perkins, Ibaka, Cook, Harden, Fisher – all thanks to OKC. You can stop acting like Seattle would be in the same position anytime now.. Thanks.

      • swyrlpr - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        You don’t think that Durant and Westbrook, the #1 and #2 scorers for OKC couldn’t have done it for the city they were drafted to play in?

        The Thunder, winning with Sonics players.

  20. seahawksbmx - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    So he went straight from Austin to OKC? Coulda sworn there was a Rookie of the Year season in Seattle in there.

    • Red River - Jun 8, 2012 at 3:52 AM

      But for everything Durant has done, he still is not as good as Greg Oden.

      Thanks, Portland. Dolts.

  21. loungefly74 - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    the Thunder did it the right way (considering the circumstances where they came from…a team with a losing mentality for years) building up through the draft. Yes, they had to endure several years of languishing at the bottom but have finally risen to the top. their long term planning, greating drafting, and aquisition of key supporting free agents have paid off.

    As a Laker fan, I can only hope my beloved Lakers continue to reload each year. It would be too much misery for the Lakers to “bottom out” for several years (and hope to draft the right players) to build again. No, the management knows we expect greatness EVERY year. Luckily, being the “Evil Empire” has some perks…we will continue to reload and contend. I look forward to my Lakers getting a new worthy opponent in the West (yeah, i’m now giving the Thunder full credit as they have finally reached the finals).

    I hope the beat whomever comes out the East. It’s kinda weird for me to be rooting for the Thunder!

    • brianjoates - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Kudos to the Thunder scouts. Doing it he right way though as a professional franchise is putting the best product on the court each season to attract fans to buy tickets with the goal of winning a title each season. Asking fans to spend money on a subpar product is arrogant of owners.

      Once Durant brings a couple titles to OKC, he is going to try and bolt back to DC to bring the team he grew up with a title and bring them back from the 70’s. Durant loves the DMV area. DC sports with Bryce, RGIII, Ovie and Durant, would be nice.

  22. edwardsro - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Durant is the real MVP

  23. diablito0402 - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    This guy really got robbed of an MVP this year..the difference between lebron and durant, is lbj scores a quiet 35 a night, where durants 35 are loud and full of daggers that demorolize the opposition, BAMM!

  24. irishokie - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    “But do not be confused. What has happened in the middle of the okra fields in Oklahoma is not some smoke-and-mirrors job. It’s not about a falsehood built on a dream. This is reality. It’s been coming for years.”

    Okra fields in Oklahoma? Really? Matt Moore, while I appreciate your article about Kevin Durant could you please act like you know a little about the state? What was this? Artistic license or something? Pretty sure in all my time growing up and living in Oklahoma that I have yet to see one field of okra. All readability of your article was lost at that phrase. Maybe next time, try to use something a little more relevant.

  25. cantonbound13 - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I live in Miami & wish espn would pay more attention to OKC. Durant is very likable, unlike overrated, arrogant LeBron. Durant is actually clutch, can carry his team in the second half of big games and has a reliable jump shot. Westbrook is faster & more explosive the Diva Wade. I can’t even root for the Heat because I’m turned off by the arrogance of those players. Good luck OKC, you guys deserve a championship!

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