The Oklahoma City Thunder's 2012-13 season was disappointing. Expectations were high for Kevin Durant and his crew coming off a NBA Finals appearance, but once Russell Westbrook went down with an injury, the roster was shaken.
The Thunder got past the Houston Rockets in the first round but fell in five games to the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals. Durant, who struggled to carry the load, isn't about to forget about the year, reports DailyThunder.com.
"Nothing is ever wasted," Durant said. "Of course the ultimate goal in this league is to win a championship. But I'm never going to say I wasted a year. I'm blessed to even wake up and do something I love every day. So it's never wasted. We take that for granted a lot."
Nevertheless, the blame game will begin. Scott Brooks at times struggled to find a fixed rotation as he looked for answers in filling in Westbrook's role. Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka struggled to step into a No. 2 role, Kevin Martin had consistency issues coming off the bench and Kendrick Perkins failed to make a mark against the Grizzlies frontline led by Marc Gasol.
So much of the blame has targeted the Thunder's leader. Durant shot 10-for-27 in his second-to-last game and finished the season with a 5-for-21 shooting performance in the elimination contest. Durant told DailyThunder.com he was exhausted by the end of the series with Memphis, but he's not about to change how he goes about things.
"I don't give a damn. I'm going to be who I'm going to be," Durant said. "I'm not Kobe Bryant. I'm not Michael Jordan. I'm not LeBron James. I'm not Magic Johnson. I'm me. I'm not ever going to compromise myself and my integrity and what I believe in for winning some basketball games or winning a championship."
The Thunder enter the offseason with questions despite what should be a renewed hope of a championship run next season behind Durant and a healthy Westbrook. Among other things, Martin comes off the books and the team will be looking to either re-sign him or fill in his sixth-man role.
Most importantly, though, is how much Durant takes from this disappointing outcome.