With seven games left in the regular season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant leads the league in points per game with 28.4. However, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony is on his tail with 28.3 points per game. These days, the NBA scoring title is viewed as a glorified consolation prize, and most players admit their ultimate goal is to get rings rather than personal accolades.
With that said, it is still a great honor to gain the title as the league’s top scorer. Especially if a player has done it consecutive years like Durant. Should Durant worry about keeping his marginal lead over Anthony in points per game?
When asked about the importance of getting the scoring title for the fourth straight year, Durant told reporters that Anthony could have it. Even though that reply seemed a little tongue and cheek, it was the right thing for Durant to say. Durant knows that the greatness of all NBA players is measured by the number of NBA titles they have, not the number of scoring titles.
This does not mean Durant does not care about his individual performance. His toughest critic is himself, and he keeps track of all of his statistics throughout games in order to evaluate his own performance; because in all honesty, the better Durant performs in games, the better shot the Thunder have at winning.
Royce Young on dailythunder.com noted on Durant’s obsessive compulsive habit of keeping track of his own statistics throughout games.
Now is that some cause for grand concern that KD values himself over team? I think if you’re really asking that, then you don’t know jack about Durant. Thing is, he cares about himself and his individual performance because he has a brain. Every player does. They all study box scores at halftime and after games. They want to know. Some let it influence their play on the floor more than others, but with Durant, while he’s tracking and thinking about stats, he’s still playing with only the mission of winning.
So if you ask me, I do not believe that Durant cares — nor should care — about winning another scoring title. There is rhyme to Durant’s reason for caring about his individual statistics, and that is to win games. He might win the scoring title, but if he does not have a championship ring to go along with it, then he will consider this year a failure.
When it comes down to it, personal accolades are nice. However, championships are what really count. This is no different for the likes of Kevin Durant.