Kevin Durant has become one of the most dominant players in the league. When he entered the league in 2007, he established himself as a player who would go on to have a successful NBA career.
Kevin Durant’s breakout rookie season
The SuperSonics selected Durant with the second overall pick during the 2007 NBA draft. Durant made his NBA debut at the age of 19, and he scored 18 points and had five rebounds against the Denver the Nuggets. He quickly became the best player on a SuperSonics team that struggled the entire year.
Durant was the one bright spot on the team as he led the SuperSonics in scoring and steals. He finished the 2007-08 season, averaging 20.3 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and one steal per game. The 6-foot-10 forward was named the 2008 Rookie of the Year. He joined Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as the only teenagers in NBA history to average at least 20 points per game throughout an entire season.
After playing one season in Seattle, the team moved to Oklahoma and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant made his one season in Seattle worth it, and the fan base in Seattle was sad to see him and the franchise move to Oklahoma.
Meet Kevin Durant’s first NBA coach
PJ. Carlesimo was Durant’s coach during his rookie season, and he was the head coach for the Thunder for a few games during the 2008-09 season. It was Carlesimo’s first season with the SuperSonics during Durant’s first year. The team finished 20-62, which was the worst record in the Western Conference and the second-worst in the NBA.
Before joining Seattle, Carlesimo served as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs from 2002 to 2007. During that time, he was a part of three championship teams. After San Antonio won the NBA title in 2007, the Spurs GM Sam Presti was hired as general manager of the SuperSonics. Presti decided to hire Carlesimo as the head coach in 2007. He struggled in his first season in Seattle, and when the team moved to Oklahoma, he only coached in 13 games and was fired after a 1-12 start.
P.J. Carlesimo’s coaching career
Carlesimo began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater Fordham. He was at Fordham from 1971 to 1975 and then became the head coach at New Hampshire College. He also served as the head coach at Wagner and Seton Hall before becoming the head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1994. He was the head coach in Portland for three seasons, and the Trail Blazers made the playoffs each of those three years losing in the first round.
After his time in Portland, he became head coach for the Golden State Warriors. He struggled during his time with the Warriors and was fired during his third season with the team. After his time with the SuperSonics/Thunder, he served as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets. He became the interim head coach for the Nets during the 2012-13 season, and the team finished with a 35-19 record and made it to the playoffs, losing in the first round. That was Carlesimo’s last coaching stop, and he now serves as a television broadcaster.