Kevin Durant is expected to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award. Jeff Green is another young player with the potential to become a star.
But the Seattle SuperSonics are not a very good team by NBA standards. After all, this is the club that entered Saturday night's game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena banged up and on a 10-game losing streak, including a setback last week when they amazingly allowed 168 points against the Denver Nuggets.
Yet the Sonics certainly didn't look bad on Saturday, especially in the first half.
"They've got a really good young team," said Jazz forward Carlos Boozer after his team rallied in the second half to win 115-101. "They are going to be good in the future."
Durant and Green, a fellow rookie, led the Sonics with 23 points each. It was Green's career high, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Sonics, who fell to 16-54 with the loss.
Seattle entered the game with just eight healthy players among P.J. Carlesimo's regular rotation. Then starting point guard Earl Watson went out with an injury and center Johan Petro got into foul trouble leaving the Sonics even more shorthanded.
"We just ran out of other people to throw in there," said Carlesimo. "(The Jazz) deserved it, don't get me wrong. They played well. We just had guys that were exhausted. We were playing them a lot more minutes than we wanted them to be playing."
While the Jazz ended up winning by a fairly comfortable margin, the slow start for the third straight home game has become a concern.
"At home we should be blowing teams out, instead we're getting behind early," said Jazz forward Matt Harpring. "That's not a good thing against a young team like (the Sonics) because it gave them confidence and then they thought they could beat us."
Durant, the college player of the year last season at Texas, is still just 19-years old. While his team isn't winning, he's been impressive this season, averaging 19.5 points per game.
"He's a talented guy. You can see that he's got the length and the athletic ability," said Harpring of Durant. "Hopefully he'll just keep working hard because he's got such a bright future. He's got the skills. It's just going to be about how bad he wants to win."
While the Sonics have little to play for the rest of the season, Durant says he will certainly leave it all out on the floor each night."I love the game so much that just because we're losing, we still have the season left and we can't just give up," said Durant.
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