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News » Seattle Supersonics Roster Report 2008-05-29


Seattle Supersonics Roster Report 2008-05-29


Seattle Supersonics Roster Report 2008-05-29
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Kevin Durant. Facing the toughest defender each night and defenses geared toward stopping him, along with the uncertainty of where the team will play next season, the 19-year-old rookie still averaged 20 points a contest in his rookie season.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: Robert Swift. The young 7-footer played in only eight games for a total of 99 minutes this season, suffering a setback after returning for major reconstructive knee surgery on his right knee after adding forty pounds of bulk. Swift tore the meniscus in the same knee in February. He's a restricted free agent at the end of the season and needs to get healthy this summer.

FREE AGENT FOCUS: Francisco Elson, Robert Swift and Mickael Gelabale's contracts end at the end of the season. Elson is the only unrestricted free agent. Gelabale and Swift are restricted free agents. Adrian Griffin has a partially guaranteed contract for next season.

PLAYER NOTES:

--Most Sonics have headed back to their offseason haunts for some rest and relaxation, but a few are staying in the Seattle area and working out at the Sonics' practice facility. They include Nick Collison and Luke Ridnour along with Seattle centers Robert Swift and Mouhamed Sene, who are both recovering from off-season knee surgeries.

--In receiving the Rookie of the Year award, Seattle's Kevin Durant remains focused on the future.

"I've worked hard my whole life, and now it's starting to pay off," Durant said. "But I know this is the beginning of things to come -- bigger and better things -- first for my team and for myself. But I've got to continue to work.

"I just want to continue to work hard this summer and next year become a better player to help this team out. I think point plank all we want to do is win. And if we all come back better players we can do that."

Durant finished well ahead of runner-up Al Horford of Atlanta, totaling 90 first-place votes and 545 points overall compared to Horford's 30 first-place votes and 390 total points. Houston's Luis Scola finished third with five first-place votes and 146 points overall. Durant was selected from a panel of 125 writers and broadcasters.

But Durant dealt with people around the league critical of his game all season, and emerged a better player because of it. Some NBA observers, including former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, lauded Horford over Durant, saying that Durant was a shining star on a bad team who shot too much, didn't rebound enough and took too many bad shots.

However, Durant quieted his critics by playing his best basketball at the end of the year, averaging 23 points and shooting 49 percent from the field in 24 games from March until the end of the season.

He also knocked down two game-winning shots and showed a willingness to take control of the game in final minutes if his team needed him.

By winning the award Durant joins the likes of mentor LeBron James -- who also called to congratulate Durant -- Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird.

"It's just me maybe being defensive about it," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said about Durant's critics. "But I think how special his year was is really not appreciated by people. He made it, if anything, look easy at times.

"He was so much a different player in March and April than earlier in the year. And particularly when you look at him in the fourth quarter, he showed some things other people don't have. And he's going to continue to show those things going forward."

True to his nature, Durant said he already selected a spot for his shiny new trophy -- but it won't be at home on the mantle.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 29, 2008

 

 
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