New York (NBA/Olympics) – After an incredible season and a fantastic playoff run, the Oklahoma City Thunder failed to reach the title – beaten by LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the finals.
Even if the Thunder lost this opportunity to win a ring, the future of the franchise looks very bright.
Guided by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden – all members of the USA preliminary squad ahead of the London Olympics – and Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma have been one of the most attractive teams in the NBA for the last two seasons and will be a serious contender in the years to come.
Durant has been the leader of the team.
Five seasons into his pro career, he has led the league in scoring three years in a row, making him one of the most talented players alongside Kobe Bryant and James.
Playing at such an incredible level once again this season, “KD” finished second in the Most valuable player voting, was named MVP of the All-Star Game and was selected in the All-NBA first team.
But his successful year isn’t over yet as he’ll be one of the leaders of Team USA in the upcoming London Olympics.
Having led the USA to the title at the 2010 FIBA World championship, the 23-year-old is one of the new rising stars of the national team who will try to get his first Olympic gold medal this summer.
FIBA.com caught up with Durant to talk about his season and the Olympics to come.
FIBA: Kevin, your team came up short in its attempt to win the NBA title after a memorable season. What are your thoughts as you look back?
Durant: I think that we had a very good season even if we didn’t win the title. The team played well all season long and every player improved a lot. It’s disappointing to lose in the finals, but we need to stay positive about the team and our future. We have a lot of talent and I’m very confident about our future. We’ll learn from the finals and we’ll come back stronger next year.
FIBA: Individually, you had another superb season. You’ve been leading the league in scoring three years in a row and finished second in the MVP voting.
Durant: I’ve been doing my best for the team. I give everything on the court to help Oklahoma win titles. It feels good to be considered one of the best players in the league, but my goal is to win trophies with my teammates. I can’t wait to win a ring with the Thunder jersey.
FIBA: This summer, you’ll get to participate in your first Olympics. What are your expectations for London?
Durant: I’ll be very happy to go to the Olympics. It’s something every basketball player dreams about since childhood. I’ll be very proud to represent my country in that competition and I’ll give my best to help the team reach the gold medal.
FIBA: Team USA will be, once again, the team to beat.
Durant: I think that there are a lot of teams who can reach the medals. France, Spain, Argentina, for example, are amongst the possible teams that can reach the first three spots. We have a lot of talent, but other countries do too. Playing in the Olympics is very motivating for every player, so we’ll need to be very cautious against every team we play against.
FIBA: You led Team USA in winning the 2010 World Championship in Turkey. What do you remember from that competition?
Durant: It was my first international competition and it went very well as we won the world title. It’s very interesting to play against other countries because you are confronted with other styles of basketball. It was also a very interesting human experience sharing moments with my teammates and spending time in a beautiful country such as Turkey. It’s one of the best moments I’ve had in my career.