After watching him on the world stage, we've learned firsthand that there's absolutely nothing Kevin Durant can't do. Even against the best athletes the world has to offer, there's just no stopping him. After dominating the FIBA World Championships, it's back to the States to see what he can do with another NBA season. So, what's next? Will Durant win another scoring title?
Durant averaged a league-most 30.1 points per game last season in just his third year in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder star turns 22 later this month, and he already has three superb pro seasons under his belt — not to mention an MVP award from Worlds. He's going to be an elite scorer in this league for the next decade and we can only wonder how many scoring titles he's going to pile up before it's all said and done.
The era of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade dominating every year appears to be over. Durant's now the top dog and it's going to be a hell of a struggle for anyone to dethrone him.
You think he's a beast in the box scores now? You're right, of course, but Durant's only going to get tougher to compete with as time goes on. Look at everything the former Texas Longhorn has going for him.
He's only 21 years old
Durant has so much more to learn about the sport of basketball and he's always working to add more dimensions to his attack, especially offensively. He's so modest that he'll never get complacent about his game. At his age, there's still plenty of room for growth.
Scoring-title competition is only going to get weaker
Take a look at Durant's main competitors for the scoring crown every year. LBJ and D-Wade are always in the mix, but they'll have to share the ball this year in Miami, not only with each other but also with Chris Bosh. Bryant is getting on in years; likewise with Dirk Nowitzki. Carmelo Anthony is distracted by his off-court struggles with the Nuggets. The coast is clear for Durant to blow everyone away. Who's going to put up a fight?
His confidence is at an all-time high
The guy just emerged as the crunch-time scorer for USA Basketball on their route to a world championship so don't expect him to shy away from a fourth-quarter showdown in Oklahoma City anytime soon. Durant has always been shy about his abilities and has been reluctant to grab the reins himself, but you can only humiliate the world's best so many times before you start believing in yourself.
His teammates keep improving
Russell Westbrook, like Durant, will soon turn 22 years old. Jeff Green just turned 24. Thabo Sefolosha is 26. James Harden is 21. All of these guys are still growing, and the more they improve, they're only going to make Durant better. Better passes, better picks and screens to get him open, better shooters to spread the floor — it all adds up to better scoring opportunities for Durant, who already had plenty.
If Durant topped 30 points per game in just his third season, there's no telling what kind of numbers he could throw down next year. Is 32 within his reach? Maybe 35?
No matter the exact number, you can bet your bottom dollar that Durant's next season will be awe-inspiring.
NESN.com will analyze 25 key NBA questions this September.
Sept. 13: Will Derrick Rose reach superstar status?
Sept. 15: Who wins Coach of the Year?