In a TNT All-Star game conference call last week, analysts Doug Collins, Kevin McHale and Reggie Miller spoke highly of Thunder star forward Kevin Durant. Here are a few of the quotes from the call.
There are seven first time All-Stars this year, which one are you most impressed with this year?
Doug Collins: Kevin Durant to me has been amazing. This young guy, I mean he scores so easily. He can shoot the ball with range. He’s getting out on the break, running the floor. And more importantly, Oklahoma City is playing well. This is a team that has a winning record on the road. They are in the playoff hunt. Kevin Durant has just been phenomenal. This is a guy if he stays healthy is going to win three or four scoring titles before it’s all said and done. He gets to the foul line now. He can shoot the 3. He’s going to be able add a little post up to his game. He’s the complete offensive player. He’s been terrific.
Fans at the Ford Center have started chanting “MVP! MVP!” for Kevin Durant. What does Kevin have to do to actually get in the diologue with Lebron and Kobe?
Doug Collins: I put him in my top five. I also had Lebron, Kobe, Durant, Steve Nash and Carmelo Anthony. The thing I go on is what has he brought to that franchise. I mean those people are so excited about basketball in Oklahoma. It’s an incredible environment, what they’ve done there. … He’s consistent. He’s fun to watch. He plays with great energy. And Reggie and Kevin you guys know, a big part of being a star is that charisma, that energy you bring where you walk out on the floor and you can just feel it. You bring a presence and he has that. At the same time, I think he is incredibly humble. His team is winning. They have done a nice job of putting pieces around him and they have a lot of draft picks. They are in the thick of things in the playoff race. As long as they are, I think have to start talking about him now. Is he probably going to win over Lebron or Kobe, the chances are probably not. Now that he is an All-Star and you are starting talking about the breadth of what he does for his team, I just love the young guy and they way he plays the game.
Kevin McHale: I talked to Rex Kalamian, their assistant coach there and I know Rex pretty well, and Rex was saying what he did this year that was different from previous years. Granted he is such a young player, but he came in with a real mental and physical commitment to the defensive end. Where he was going to try on the defensive end. He was going to work hard. He was going to get better defensively. … I think as he gets better on the defensive end, their team improves, they start getting better, he will be talked about as an MVP candidate. I personally believe he will win a couple of MVPs. You’re talking about a guy at this stage in his career in Doug’s top five, which I agree with, those are great players. I think he will win MVPs. There is a time for all things and right now is not his time to win a MVP. But it his time to shine and his time to really put Oklahoma on the map as far an NBA team.
Reggie Miller: Look, will he win an MVP this year, no. That’s obviously going to go to one of the big two in Kobe and Lebron. This is my magic number. If they can get to 50, 55 games (on his 25-point streak), you certainly have to strongly consider this guy if he continues to play like this. I go back to what Doug touched upon earlier, when you talk about these teams, how do they perform on the road, Oklahoma City is winning huge games on the road. What is scary when a young athletic team finds a way to win on the road. So 50 to 55 games and he can continue to play like this and score and elevate his team, you absolutely have to put him in the same breath with Carmelo, with Lebron, even Dwyane and Kobe. You have to put him in that same conservation. I agree with Kevin, It probably will happen more so later on his career because these guys are at the pinnacle of their career right now. I hate to muddy the waters, can you imagine if the Portland Trail Blazers, if hindsight looking back and I hate to say that because I love Greg Oden, but can you imagine him with Brandon Roy and LeMarcus Aldridge and that young team as well. That’s even scarier. You can definitely put him in the same breath, 50 to 55 games.