Durant: "Feels Great To Play Again"
By Randy Renner
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant will be back out where he was destined to be tonight, on an NBA basketball floor, moving with apparent ease and grace right up until he turns into one of the most deadly sharpshooters in the league.
The man some love to call "The Slim Reaper."
He certainly looked the part again in the preseason hitting a fraction under 60 percent of his shots and averaging 18 points in only about 20 minutes of playing time per game.
But now it's been more than 500 days since KD played a meaningful NBA game when he was close to 100 percent healthy. He played in 27 games last season but he wasn't 100 percent in any of them.
So Durant, at least as much as anyone and probably more than most, is appreciative of being able to get back to doing what he loves.
"It feels great to play again," he said after Wednesday's shootaround session.
"It's easy to take it for granted when you play so many games and have so many practices," he continued. "But when it's taken away you appreciate it more."
He has said several times, he feels great. He even appears to be in the best shape of his life and he seemed to pick up in preseason right where he left off back when he was last healthy in the 2013-14 season.
Tonight though against the Spurs, a team Durant and his Thunder teammates have the utmost respect for, will be different.
This game counts and Durant is is just thankful he'll be able to be a big part of it.
"It felt good to wake up this morning knowing that I can play tonight."
Kanter Excited For Fresh Start
Thunder center Enes Kanter can't wait to get things going tonight either.
"I'm really excited, this is the first time I'm starting the year on a team that has a chance to get a ring, to win the title," he said.
Kanter appears to have accepted his role as the backup center. Head coach Billy Donovan brought Kanter off the bench in every preseason game in which Steven Adams was also available to play.
"He (Donovan) just wants me to share the ball, move the ball and bring energy, play as hard as I can play."
Kanter knows people outside the organization (and maybe some on the inside too) have knocked his defense. But he says he's much more comfortable now and knows where he needs to be and what he needs to do after a full training camp with his still somewhat new teammates.
"I'm really prepared now, everybody's ready."