Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant. The second-year small forward turned in a spectacular season, even if few noticed, to firmly cement himself as the franchise player. Durant finished sixth in the league in scoring at more than 25 points per game. He also grabbed 6.5 boards and dished out nearly three assists a night.
Most Disappointing Player: Robert Swift. The injury-plagued center was never able to get on track, despite given every opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation. The former lottery pick played in just 26 games, averaging only 13 minutes. He heads into free agency looking for a new team.
Free Agent Focus: Malik Rose, Desmond Mason and Robert Swift are free agents. The team likely doesn’t have any interest in Rose or Swift, though either may be used in a sign-and-trade scenario. Mason, an Oklahoma State product, could be a possibility if he’s healthy. With so much room for improvement, the team is looking for veteran depth at all positions on the affordable side.
• G Russell Westbrook grew up in Los Angeles, so his playoff memories revolve around the Lakers. The titles from 2000-2002 still hold a special place.
“Shaq (O’Neal) and Kobe (Bryant) when they won the three-peat,” Westbrook said. “I went to a playoff game when they played Sacramento. It was exciting. It was a different level.”
• F Kevin Durant said Michael Jordan left an indelible mark 11 years ago. Jordan’s shot to beat Utah in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals still resonates with Durant.
“I was watching that game and I was thinking to myself, ‘There’s no way he’s going to hit that shot,’” Durant said. “But after that move he made, and he made it in a tough Utah arena and they won a championship. That will always stick in my head. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play in the playoffs and make some of my own memories.”
• F D.J. White wishes summer league could get going already. After an abbreviated rookie season cut short by surgeries, the power forward wants to get back on the court.
“I’m ready to go right now,” White said. “I only played in seven games. I have a lot of energy. The plan is to keep working out and then play in Orlando.”
• G Desmond Mason is expected to make a full recovery. He’ll be ready for training camp if he remains with the team.