Note: If you are a regular Project Spurs reader, you'll know I had a chance to talk with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant recently. While not everything he talked about was San Antonio Spurs-related, I thought his answers were interesting enough to include in their entirety here.
Inside the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room, players are scattered about getting taped up for the game, watching San Antonio Spurs game video or just listening to music. There are a handful of media that have been standing in the same spot for about 20 minutes, waiting for one player.
As soon as they see his lanky 6-9 frame walk in and sit in front of his locker, the media scurries over to get in good position. White balance set, lights on and ready to roll tape for that night's newscast.
I decided to wait even longer, to let everyone get in their questions so I could speak to him one-on-one.
Durant recently played with a West All-Star squad that featured Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, two players who have since moved East in trades to the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets. The Spurs will see Williams and the Nets tonight.
"It changes a lot. Those two are all-stars, you know, but in this league players step up," Durant said. "Guys step up. Players that haven't played that much are waiting for the opportunity and it opened up a little bit for those teams. I can't count Denver or Utah out. They're still going to be good teams and they're going to be tough to win against."
But with the Western conference losing two of it's best players, does this pave the way for his young Thunder team to experience even more postseason success.
"I hope so. We can't worry about too far down the line, we've got to continue to take it a game at a time," Durant said. "That's the easiest way for us because you never know what will happen these next couple of hours, next couple of days."
The next couple of days, the Thunder added Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed, a move that makes the Thunder a threat to every team in the West.
But don't expect Durant to get overconfident or expect an automatic bid to the second round.
"It's a short season from here on out so we just have to win as much as we can," the Texas alumnus said. "I think we're in the fourth spot so we control our destiny and we'll see what happens at the end of the season."
Durant was also very complimentary of the Spurs, a team he was trying to get his first win of the season against.