Stone-Cold Evidence That Kevin Durant Is Trying To Turn Himself Into LeBron James
Field goal percentage:
- Durant from 2008-12: 47.7%
- Durant this season: 51.4%
- LeBron in Miami: 52.2%
Three pointers attempted per 36 minutes:
- Durant from 2008-12: 4.1
- Durant this season: 3.2
- LeBron in Miami: 2.9
Durant is an excellent three-point shooter, but he’s chosen to take more high-percentage shots this year. In the past, KD has been quick to take transition 3’s. But this year he’s taking better shots, and has become more efficient as a result.
2. He’s player better, more aggressive defense:
Defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions):
- Durant from 2008-12: 105
- Durant this season: 99
- LeBron in Miami: 100
Steals per 36 minutes:
- Durant from 2008-12: 1.2
- Durant this season: 1.5
- LeBron in Miami: 1.6
Part of this defensive shift has to do with Oklahoma City, which has gone from a terrible defensive team four years ago to a very adequate defensive team today. But that improvement doesn’t take place without the help of Durant.
He may never be a great defender because he’s not as quick or agile as LeBron. But he’s getting better.
3. He’s rebounding better, and passing more:
Assists per 36 minutes:
- Durant from 2008-12: 2.7
- Durant this season: 4.0
- LeBron in Miami: 6.3
Rebounds per 36 minutes:
- Durant from 2008-12: 6.7
- Durant this season: 7.8
- LeBron in Miami: 7.4
This is the biggest area of improvement. Durant is totally focused on getting his teammates involved this year. :
“They gave (the role players) confidence from the beginning of the season, and I’m sure being on that stage and having those guys trusting them meant they were able to step their game up. That’s the only thing I’m trying to do now.”
His assist numbers have increased as a result. In addition, his slightly reduced scoring role has allowed him to attack the boards more freely, and he’s grabbing a solid share of rebounds despite playing alongside two rebounding specialists in Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka.
Look, we’re not saying Durant is going to be as good as LeBron. But it’s clear that he’s making an effort to expand his game by mimicking some of the ways LeBron plays.