NBA / Aug 16, 2010 / 9:00 am

Dime Q&A: Kevin Durant is adding something new to his game

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

In Team USA’s grand finale of the World Basketball Festival — yesterday’s exhibition game versus France at Madison Square Garden — Kevin Durant didn’t have the kind of explosive performance many were expecting.

As the national team’s current headliner, Durant has been the face of the WBF and all of Nike and USA Basketball’s promotions this summer. But on Sunday, he had a relatively quiet 14 points and 8 rebounds as Rudy Gay and Chauncey Billups stole the show. Still, KD is unquestionably “The Man” on Team USA — only you’ll never get him to admit it. After shaking off reporters’ questions about being the “focal point” of the U.S. squad, Durant gave Dime a few minutes to talk about his busy summer:

*** *** ***

Dime: You went to USA training camp with two of your Thunder teammates, but Jeff (Green) just got cut and Russell (Westbrook) is considered one of the guys on the bubble. Is it tougher on you if those guys get cut as opposed to anybody else?
Kevin Durant: Yeah, it’s tough, but we all know the business. We all know how this whole deal works. I’m comfortable with all the players here — we’re like one big family now — but it would be tough to see Russ leave, and it was tough to see Jeff leave. But I just have to move on from it. We’ll all be better for it next season.

Dime: Have you grown closer to anybody in particular during this Team USA experience?
KD: All the guys, really: Rudy, Andre (Iguodala), Danny (Granger), Chauncey … they all do a great job of making it comfortable for everybody.

Dime: It seems like you and Andre have a natural chemistry on the court. He said you guys hadn’t really played together before, it’s just two guys with high basketball IQ’s knowing how to play together.
KD: We hadn’t really played together. But I always admired Andre before I got to the League. He makes it easier for everybody with all the stuff he does, and he’s so athletic you just toss the ball up anywhere and he’ll go get it. I think we do have that chemistry that will help us out when we get to Europe.

Dime: The Redeem Team got the Olympic gold-medal drought out of the way, but the U.S. hasn’t won at the World Championships since ’94. Is that something you guys talk about?
KD: Yeah, we have that in the back of our heads. We know it’s gonna be a tough road for us. It’s gonna be a challenge, especially with people saying we can’t get it done with the guys we have here.

Dime: Why do you think you can pull it off?
KD: We have the best talent in the world, but we also have that chemistry here. All egos out the door; we’re all ready to go out there and sacrifice. If shots have to get diminished, minutes have to get diminished … everybody is looking forward to just playing and doing what it takes to win.

Dime: A lot has been made of this team not having enough big men. Do you think that’s an issue?
KD: I don’t think so. We make up for it with our athleticism and our point guard play. We have guards that can rebound and athletic guys in the middle. It’s just a matter of us all rebounding and helping the bigs.

Dime: You’ve been playing a lot of power forward and even some center in these scrimmages and exhibitions. How is that working out for you?
KD: It’s about the same, really, because at the four I’m still out on the perimeter. I can mix it up a little bit, and it’s cool because it causes a lot of mismatches.

Dime: With this Team USA commitment, have you had time to work on your game like you would have in a normal offseason?
KD: Oh yeah. I’ve been working out; I make sure that comes first, no matter what. I think you’re gonna really it in the season, when I get back to Oklahoma City, what I’ve been working on. You’re gonna see it in spurts here (with Team USA) because I’m playing a different position. I’m not getting the ball as much as I’d get it in Oklahoma City. But you’ll see it.

Dime: So what are you trying to add to your game?
KD: You’ll see it.

-Follow Austin on Twitter at @AustinBurton206
-Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag
-Become a fan of Dime on Facebook HERE

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • ben1en

    He’s right about him not getting the ball that much. I was at the game yesterday at MSG and for the first few minutes Durant was left out of Team USA’s offense. He still had some great putbacks- by the way, is there offensive goaltending in FIBA? I saw of few dunks that should have been called goaltending and they weren’t…

  • Captain Fantastic

    Be afraid, very afraid.

  • Kingralf

    Offensive gt like defensive gt is allowed under FIba Rules.

    Omg, if somebody like durant is talking this mysteriously opposing forwards gonna get raped

  • DNice

    @ ben1en
    In FIBA the ball is live once it touches the rim

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    “Omg, if somebody like durant is talking this mysteriously opposing forwards gonna get raped”


  • control

    “Kevin Durant is adding something new to his game” then all you hear is “you’ll see”.

    Funny shit…that headline isn’t deceiving at all!

  • jonny taise

    ‘Dime Mag- where misleading headlines happen.’

  • Jason

    Kevin Durant is overrated… he’s just a shooter that added b.s. calls to his game.

  • Chuck

    Fun. You tend to forget that he is still a big kid, at 21 who likes to play video games with the neighborhood kids. I hope he retains that innocence but he is driven to be the best. Given his freakish physical talent and shooting touch, he can definitely be that. I think he will start to get the ball in the pivot and create from there. I am expecting fewer points and many more assists. He and Curry are very easy roots.

  • Joe’s Momma

    It is really hard not to like this guy.

    I like his game, and he just seems real low key and grounded, something that is very rare in today’s game.

    I don’t think he will ever really bulk up, but with zero contact allowed on the perimeter this guy can continue to ball out of his mind. Now, if they allowed hand checking, he would have a tougher time due to his slight frame.

    If OKC can find a shot blocking big with a low post game, they would be battling for home court.

    P.S. I thought it was a good move for PJ Carlesimo to play Durant at the 2. Yes, he blew up after being moved to the 3, but he gained a lot of experience by playing a guard role.

    I would like to see Durant control the ball more, rebound and take the ball the length of the floor, sometimes allowing Westbrook to fill the wing and power slam on some moronic bigs trying to protect the rim.

    OKC can be a scary team. Too bad they shafted Seatle