Kevin Durant's Jordanesque Heroics Will Fuel End of Western Conference Dynasties

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IApril 7, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts before taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Kevin Durant has ice water running through his veins.

There is a new dynasty forming atop the Western Conference, and it's Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder. This is a 23-year-old kid who has shown absolutely no fear in a season where everyone expected Oklahoma City to find success, and it's fitting to say that Durant's time has officially arrived.

Some expected the Thunder to have some trouble this season. Some weren't sold that a club led by four players all 23 years of age or younger was ready to find its groove in 2012, but Durant has tossed that notion to the wind.

Showing no regard for said expectations, Durant has come out and scored 20 points or more in every single playoff game thus far.

It's not just about how many points Durant is scoring—it's about when he's scoring them. There is a confidence in K.D.'s game that is not typical for someone who is so young. There is a swagger in Durant's approach that just isn't what we see from his peers, and that's exactly what separates him from the rest of the pack.

Durant has been a force against the Los Angeles Lakers, and there's really no other way to put it. He's shot at least 50 percent from the floor through the first four games of the series, and regardless of who is on him defensively, the Lakers simply have no answer.

Metta World Peace was supposed to be the "Durant-stopper," but that just hasn't happened.

But is there even a way to stop Durant? Is there an answer for a near-seven-footer playing small forward who is capable of scoring from any spot on the floor? If Durant is forced to the perimeter, he has a smooth jumper that swishes through the net. If the defense takes away the jumper, Durant can explode past his man and get to the basket with his impressive length.

It's time for the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers to understand that the passing of the torch is coming. Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka are a four-headed monster that no team wants to deal with at any stage.

Fueled by Durant's talent and passion, which rubs off very noticeably on his teammates, the Thunder have become a powerhouse before it was expected.

This is a team that is ahead of what many pegged as "its time," but the time is now for Oklahoma City to make its move. With Durant leading the way, there hasn't been a better opportunity for the Thunder to leave their mark on the rest of the NBA.

It's no longer just about a team that's incredibly athletic or fun to watch—Thunder basketball is about far more than that.

With Durant channeling his inner Michael Jordan and taking the right step at each stage of his progression, No. 35 has evolved into something more than most thought he would be at this point in his career.

For a team that is built around its youthful talent, Durant has asserted himself as a leader at the perfect time. Not a single season too soon, Durant has shown us he's ready to embrace the largest role he's ever played in his career.

But don't expect him to sweat it out; calm, cool and collected will always be the K.D. way.