It's that time of year after the Super Bowl and before the Major League Baseball season that lists like these typically rise up. The NBA and NHL are in the swing of things, but they are far from the playoffs, so that means that the typical sports fan resorts to a High Fidelity type of list or two to get them through the lack of compelling sports headlines. Enter ESPN's Top 25 talents under 25 in the NBA. Interestingly for Thunder fans, Kevin Durant tops the list above other stars like Derrick Rose and Andrew Bynum:
Drafted second overall in 2007 after having possibly the greatest freshman season in college basketball history, Durant was named NCAA "Player of the Year" by numerous outlets. He struggled for much of his rookie season while playing a lot of shooting guard, but still easily won the Rookie of the Year Award. Since then, he's been a dynamic scorer, finishing fifth, first and first in NBA scoring the past three years, respectively.
He's also sported the second-highest PER in the league (27.00), trailing only LeBron James. He's the third best rebounding small forward; his scoring and willingness to make easy plays on offense has made OKC a top 3 offensive team. He has anchored the Thunder, which during Durant's time has evolved from a tough playoff team to a conference finalist then to the favorite to reach the Finals. He's thin but very durable and capable of taking a beating without missing a beat, as he tied for first in free throws made last season.
Durant's overall game makes this choice not that surprising at all, if only to realize, "Wait, LeBron's not under 25 anymore? I'm getting old."