Networks don’t buy Kevin Durant theory
Thunder Star lacks respect nationally
Buzz up!By Berry Tramel
Published: August 5, 2009
Sam Smith, as reputable as any NBA writer the last 20 years, reported a couple of weeks ago on some whispers around the league that Kevin Durant eventually could be a better ballplayer than LeBron James.
Kevin Durant lacks national respect. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Interesting theory. I don’t know if I buy it, but it sure is fun to think about. Durant is a wondrous talent; a 6-foot-10 shooting whiz who also can run and jump and do all kinds of things in the open court.
Truth is, Durant ranks with LeBron and Kevin Garnett (when healthy) and Dirk Nowitzki as the NBA’s most unique players. There’s really no one else in the league like any of them.
But the NBA’s television networks don’t buy the Durant-might-pass-LeBron idea. If TNT or ESPN/ABC believed that Durant was the second coming of King James, your Oklahoma City Thunder would not have just one measly national telecast this coming season.
ESPN plans to show the Thunder when it hosts Dallas on Dec. 16. Two other OKC games are set for NBATV, but it’s a stretch to call them national telecasts. NBATV is the MySpace to TNT’s and ESPN’s Facebook.
If the basketball minds at TNT and ESPN believed that Durant was driving down LeBron Boulevard, the Thunder would get more than a token appearance.
I know it’s a hard sell to telecast a franchise that has won 43 games combined the last two years. It’s a crowded market. Lakers, Celtics, Cavaliers, Magic, Bulls, Spurs, Suns, Nuggets, Hornets, Jazz, Rockets, Mavericks, Heat. The league is full of marquee teams with superstar players.
Three factors equate to TV favor: team success, star power and market size. I would rank them in that order.
The networks will repeatedly spotlight a small market team that wins. Orlando has 24 ESPN or TNT games scheduled this season; San Antonio has 20.
But the NBA is a star-driven league. If you don’t believe it, check out the Clippers, who now sport Blake Griffin. The woeful Clips have eight national-TV games this season, and on NBA.com’s home page Tuesday, the display announcing the release of the 2009-10 schedule was a Rushmore collection of Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Shaquille O’Neal and Blake Griffin.
Make no mistake. No matter how much praise is lopped Durant’s way from Mike Krzyzewski or Sam Smith, the Thunder wonder has a long way to go to register on the national scale.
Five franchises failed to get any ESPN or TNT telecasts: New Jersey, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Sacramento and (inexplicably) Houston.
Oklahoma City is lumped in with Minnesota, Indiana, Memphis and Toronto, who each get one national game.
Washington and Golden State get eight each. The largely faceless Hawks get seven. The awful Knickerbockers five.
Kevin Durant gets one. If the network decision-makers believed he was about to challenge LeBron James’ dominance, the Thunder wouldn’t be tied with Memphis for national television exposure.
The meddia loves LeBron,remember in the conference finals every other comercial was "The Chosen one" or "Be a Witness", but then Stan Van Gundy turned the publicity into a motivational tool for his players and they were able to beat "The Chosen One"
But the article isnt knocking Durant its knocking OKC as a small market, look at the other teams like Minnesota, Indiana,Milwaukee, and Sacramento
"But the article isnt knocking Durant its knocking OKC as a small market, look at the other teams like Minnesota, Indiana,Milwaukee, and Sacramento"
sacramento is not a small market at all.... they just suck too bad to be put on tv... i bet if rubio went there they would prolly be on tv more..
durant is the man and should have been the number 1 pick. He's a better shooter than Lebron will ever be and I think he will be as big as Lebron some day...
They should show OKC and Memphis more on TV they both have a very good young team who both have potential superstars in Mayo and Durant and its ridiculous that there not showing them ESPN loves Stephen Curry thats why the Warriors are getting that many games and I would also like to see th Kings and Bucks get a few games on tv to see Jennings and Evans.
Not to say that I agree or disagree with the article, but Berry Tramel is an idiot. He's on the radio here in OKC and is quite painful to listen to. For example, he said Durant is the best outside shooter on the planet. As good as Durant is, that isn't one of the strongest aspects of his game.
durant is a great player. i know this is kind of off topic, but do any of you guys think that anthony randolph's ceiling is as high as durants?
i wouldnt necessarily say kg is that unique..i mean for the rest of those guys there has NEVER been a player like them... kg is basically a shorter hakeem olajuwan clone...
Dude you can't say that. They are both incredibly graceful and versatile, but KG doesn't have near Hakeem's footwork in the post (no one does), Hakeem wasn't a ball handler like KG. and they are both 7 feet tall.
"Dude you can't say that. They are both incredibly graceful and versatile, but KG doesn't have near Hakeem's footwork in the post (no one does), Hakeem wasn't a ball handler like KG. and they are both 7 feet tall."
first off i can... hakeem would be a near perfect comparison to kg... go to youtube and watch some highlights man... i would say that ur right that kg doesnt have as good footwork because nobody truely did... but hes pretty close... also hakeem had a freakish wingspan compared to kg...
KG is taller so he can't be called a shorter version of the Dream. Thay both have great footwork and defensive instincts. Dream was much better on the low block because he would out quick his opponents and beat them without being more physical. KG does not have nearly the same post repetiorre, but he is better from the perimeter. Some similarities for sure, but not really clones.
I dont like the comparison because they are different but I can see some of the similarities on defense and also KG is taller. Hakeem is not quite 7 foot and also KG is taller than his listed height. Dude came into the league as 6'11" funny how he has not grown when everyone remember how it was mentioned that he grew and inch but his NBA height never changed.
he is gonna be great and he will score a ton. But his defense, rebounding and ball-handling are still areas of concern. Plus, scoring big on a team thats winning like 22 games is a little different then when you are the man on a playoff team. I'm just not ready to crown him as a top 5 player like I see so many others doing. But I would take him over Randolph for sure.