Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant entered the 2013-14 NBA season with the set goal of becoming a more ample playmaker in compliment to his elite ability as a scorer. However, those plans have seemingly been put to a halt after Russell Westbrook underwent another knee surgery that has kept him off of the floor since Christmas Day.
Since the Westbrook injury, Durant has been an absolute monster and other-worldly being on the floor. In the nine games since Westbrook’s been sidelined, Durant has put up 34.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while still shooting solid clips of 48.2 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent from three.
Despite Durant’s ridiculous production as of late, though, he’s not happy with his performance. In fact, he’s looking to change how he’s been playing going forward. In a recent interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, Durant said that he’s “just flat out shooting too much” and that he will need “to find a way to get [his] teammates easier shots.”
The selfish basketball-watcher in me thinks this is a terrible idea. Normally when we think of a guy playing like a gunner, we imagine the J.R. Smiths of the world that will keep you in some games and shoot you out of others. However, with Durant we have a guy that has been shooting 22.1 times per game since the Westbrook injury and that’s been part of why his team has remained competitive. That’s remarkable and incredible to watch.
In terms of Durant’s progression as a star in this league, though, you have to like the leadership that he’s owning up to here and how he’s looking to become a more versatile and impactful player in this league. He’s not content with just being the best chucker in the world while Westbrook’s out; Durant wants to be the best player in the world and get his team wins, which is fantastic to see out of him.
Durant is still going to be putting up shots with Westbrook out. Even when the point guard was healthy, Durant was still hoisting up upwards of 18 shots per night. However, we’ll need to keep an eye out for KD looking to be a better playmaker and dynamic player going forward. I think it’s clear that he has the talent, but it’s going to be fun to watch him put it into action.