One team that has consistently job a pretty good job on Kevin Durant has been Portland. In three games, KD is still averaging 26 ppg against the Blazers, but he’s only shooting a pedstrian 35 percent from the floor. The Blazers make Durant work for the ball, they push him, they bump him and the bracket him the best they can. Plus, it helps to have a good defender like Nicolas Batum.
Rip City Project put together this quality video of the Blazers defending Durant. In a lot of situations, KD gets the shot he wants, but just missed it. Such is life in basketball.
But one thing you’ll notice is that he settled for a few 3s when there may have been a better option. For whatever reason over the last three weeks or so, KD has taken more and more three pointers. Consider: In January where Durant shot 53 percent from deep, he took 47 treys. In February, he took 46 3s and shot 44 percent. But so far in March, he’s shooting only 24 percent from 3 and has taken 66 3s. In the last five games, he’s taken 26 3-pointers. That’s what you call settling.
Durant is an excellent midrange player (48 percent from 10-15 feet) and solid on long two-pointers (36 percent from 16-23 feet). He’s awesome at the rim (72 percent) and one thing he’s done this year is attack the basket more and more. And while he’s a really good 3-point shooter, settling for the distance jumper with 12 on the shot clock might not be the best option.
When Durant shot 53 percent from deep in January, almost all the looks were in rhythm. He get an open look after an offensive rebound, after a few passes or coming off a pick. Lately, it seems like we’ve seen more of the standing 3-point shot where there’s little ball movement and it’s not even that open.
Kevin Durant is too good of a shooter to hit just 24 percent from 3. When that happens, it means he’s forcing more bad ones than good, not getting any good looks or a combination of the two. He’s had a few 0-7 type games from 3 and that certainly skews the numbers, but the amazing part is, Durant is still playing at a ridiculous offensive efficiency despite the 3-point downturn.
He went through a spell like this early in the season and he came around. I imagine the same will happen again, just in time for the postseason. Take that, Western Conference playoff teams.