While the Seattle might not be on their shorts next season, these two studs are ready to shoulder the load that comes with leading an NBA team–even if they’re stuck in Oklahoma City.
Last night the Sonics outlasted the Nuggets in a high-scoring, double OT affair. It was a pretty amazing game for a couple reasons: every member of the Nuggets who played, all eight, scored in double figures, and Jeff Green and Kevin Durant showed us why the Sonics drafted them so high this past summer.
Durant played his finest game of the season, finally showing his all-around potential that has remained dormant while he has acted like a 6’9″ version of Jamal Crawford at the 2 for most of the year, posting 8 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals to go with his 37 points. Durant was 2-4 from three and 13-13 from the line, showcasing his feathery touch from anywhere. It’s nice to see that we weren’t necessarily all crazy in annointing the guy “Next” prior to the season.
In Durant’s shadow, Jeff Green also did his thing. How does 35 points, 10 boards, 3 dimes, and a block and a steal sound? Green did all of this in 49 minutes, shooting 14-21 from the field, 2-3 from profundity, and 5-6 from the welfare line. Not bad for your second best rookie.
The two combo forwards have played much better as the season has progressed, especially since the All-Star Break. Durant has raised his shooting percentage from a disappointing 41.8% before New Orleans to a quality 47.1% after the Big Easy, maintaing nice peripheral numbers for a 19-year-old rookie. Meanwhile Seattle’s other high profile first-year-starter has really upped his stock a level since the Break. Green has jumped from 8.6 points per contest to 13.5 and brought his free throw and three point shots up to and above respectability at 78.9% and 38.6% respectively.
Furthering the bright future for the Clay Bennetts is the soon-to-be top-five pick they’ll add to an already strong core. Cap room will hit the scene soon too, so more crafty maneuvers could get the team back into the playoffs within a couple years. If you add Derrick Rose to Green and Durant, look out. And there’s a 41.9% chance the team lands in the top-two this summer, so it could happen. Michael Beasley would be a ridiculous dance partner with his former AAU teammate Durant, but a playmaker who allows Green and Durant to operate from the post more often would be ideal.
Things are looking up for the Sonics these days, unfortunately just not their fans.