Kevin Durant is one of basketball’s fastest rising stars. Durant spent one season of NCAA basketball at the University of Texas. As the top basketball prospect in the country, it was a season he may never have played had the NBA not recently instituted an age requirement designed to encourage high school players to attend college. The Seattle Supersonics made him the second overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, giving the team an instant franchise player to build around.
Spending only a freshman season in NCAA basketball, Kevin Durant proved too much for collegiate competition. As a six-foot-nine forward with the quickness, agility, and athleticism of a guard, Durant was instantly one of college basketball’s best players. Durant poured in 25.6 points per game and averaged 11.3 rebounds, both ranking fourth nationally. He was named the 2007 National Player of the Year by the AP, adding the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award, and the Oscar Robertson Award as an 18-year old.
Kevin Durant was poised to be an instant impact player in the NBA. He joined a Sonics team that was in transition mode, in terms of both personnel and the franchise itself. Playing for a team that had no chance of competing at a high level, Durant was able to immediately step into a leadership role. For the season as a whole, Durant averaged 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He rapidly grew as a player and ran away with the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, looking like an All-Star caliber player by season’s end.
Come his sophomore season, Kevin Durant’s ability to seemingly score at will began to mirror his college dominance. As the Seattle Sonics changed cities and became the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant gave the franchise hope for a quick turnaround from years of mediocrity. Entering 2008-09, Kevin Durant added range and consistency to his jumpshot and wasted no time in becoming one of the NBA’s top stars. Durant scored 25.3 points per game, good for sixth in the league; he added 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals. His scoring efficiency improved significantly; he raised his field goal percentage from .430 to .476 and his three point percentage from .288 to .422.
In his third season, the improvement of Kevin Durant and his youthful teammates translated to a dramatic improvement in the Thunder’s performance. Oklahoma City went from winning 23 games in 2008-09 to 50 in 2009-10 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Kevin Durant became a legitimate MVP candidate in just his third NBA season. He led the NBA in scoring with 30.1 points per game, adding 7.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.4 steals with 90 percent free throw shooting. Though he finished second in the MVP voting, he earned a spot on the All-NBA First Team, beating out former MVP-winning forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan for the spot.
Just 22-years old and three seasons into his NBA career, Kevin Durant is already on his way to a brilliant career. Durant holds the highest scoring average in Oklahoma City Thunder/Seattle Supersonics history with 25.3 points through 236 NBA games. With Durant leading a young and talented team, both he and the Thunder as a whole have plenty of success awaiting them in the near future.