Kevin Durant has shown several new facets of his game this season, and the more astute analysts have noticed. Rob Mahoney wrote an outstanding piece on Durant's development, and our friend Beckley Mason at HoopSpeak chimes in with an interesting analogy:

We talk about the Thunder Culture all the time, as in: what a professional place to work and develop fine young athletes! But there's a verb meaning of "culture" - the one that applies to growing bacteria in limited ecosystems - that may explain why the Harden trade can work in Durant, and the Thunder's long term favor.

Think of a basketball team as a petri dish with twelve different types of bacteria instead of twelve different players. Bacteria, like players, grow at different rates depending on the conditions, like temperature and how much food is available. NBA stars would be those bacteria strains that thrive the best, though how much opportunity each star has the ball and makes plays is limited by the size of the dish and the activity of competing organisms.