"I'm no savior or anything like that," Kevin Durant said. "I guarantee you that wherever I go, I won't walk through the door and be the best player on the team. Especially not (the Sonics)."
LAS VEGAS — The whirlwind that has swept Kevin Durant off of his feet has carried him to the Nevada desert where he’s taking the first steps towards his new basketball life.
The night before he was in Washington, D.C, with his family where he watched the NBA draft lottery unfold and like most everyone, the Texas freshman forward was stunned by the results as Portland captured the No. 1 pick and the Sonics claimed No. 2.
“I was kind of shocked that it went that way,” Durant said today. “Everybody was telling me Boston or Memphis, but either way it was good. Either way I’m going to the NBA and that’s the most important thing. We’ll just have to see where I go. But either way, I’m happy.”
Durant has already heard the talk that’s swirling in Seattle, where he’s expected to be the second pick in the June 28 draft and is being called a possible savior for professional basketball in the Puget Sound area. The hype makes him laugh and it also makes him a little nervous.
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“I’m no savior or anything like that,” he said. “I guarantee you that wherever I go, I won’t walk through the door and be the best player on the team. Especially not that team. They got Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. Those guys are saviors. If I go there, I’m going to want to fit in with those guys.”
For now, the NBA can wait as Durant is caught up in a tour that has landed him in Las Vegas, where he’s joined by Ohio State center Greg Oden, who is projected as the top pick in the draft.
Seated next to Jerry Colangelo, the general manager of the USA Basketball Senior Men’s National Team, Durant and Oden formally accepted invitations to the team’s 24-man roster and its summer training camp. They joined newcomers Carlos Boozer, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Mike Miller, Tayshaun Prince and Deron Williams.
Colangelo said Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson, Brad Miller, Lamar Odom, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade would not compete for the U.S. team this summer because of injuries.
“Right now, the team belongs to LeBron (James), Dwyane (Wade) and Carmelo (Anthony), and hopefully in a few years, Kevin and I can take over like they are,” Oden said. “I’m hoping to make the team and bring home a gold medal, but you never know. The experience will be good for me. Just playing with the guys will give me a taste of what the NBA is going to be like.”
Later this afternoon, Durant will board a flight to Vancouver, B.C. for a motion-capturing session with EA Sports for an upcoming video game and next week he’s headed to Orlando for the pre-draft camp.
“It’s starting to get going,’ Durant said. “I can feel it. Normally, I’d be in a gym right now just working on my game, but now I got these other things that I got to do. That’s all a part of being in the NBA I guess. It’s cool. I’ll take it.”