H: 6' 10"|
W: 215 lbs
(27 Years Old)
|RSCI: 2||Agent: Rich Kleiman |
High School: Montrose Christian
Hometown: Suitland, MD
Drafted: Pick 2 in 2007 by SuperSonics
Best Case: More Fluid/Athletic Dirk Nowitzki
Worst Case: Rashard Lewis
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 9"||6' 10.25"||215||7' 4.75"||9' 2"||6.6||26.0||33.5|
|2006||Hoop Summit||6' 9"||NA||NA||7' 4"||9' 0.5"||NA||NA||NA|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 9"||6' 10.25"||215||7' 4.75"||9' 2"||6.6||26.0||33.5|
|2006||Hoop Summit||6' 9"||NA||NA||7' 4"||9' 0.5"||NA||NA||NA|
Kevin Durant was not a disappointment in the least bit, making 7 of his 10 shots (including both 3-point attempts) on his way to 22 points in 27 minutesóeven if there was never any question that he could do a lot more if he pleased. He showed off his unbelievable skill-level on a number of occasionsófor example with a ridiculous turnaround baseline jumper from 20 feet, a pivot/spin-move into the paint to finish with a floater, grabbing a rebounding and bringing the ball all the way up the court before drilling a 3, a crazy crossover dribble leading into a pull-up jumper, and more. His length got him into the passing lanes for steals, allowed him to jump over players for offensive rebounds, and did not stop him from displaying his unbelievable ball-handling skills with either handing breaking players down off the dribble. The best part of his extremely entertaining performance was just how upbeat and unselfish he was around his teammates, always looking to make the extra pass, constantly encouraging guys from the bench, and really looking like the franchise player that we all projected him to develop into. This was definitely one of the highlights so farÖ[Read Full Article]
While practically the entire country would have liked to see freshman sensation Kevin Durant match up in the Sweet 16 with #1 seed North Carolina, Nick Young and the USC Trojans had other ideas. Durant didnít go out without a fight, though, scoring 30 points for the 10th time this season in what turned out to be his last game of the season, and probably of his college career.
Rather than trying to shut down the best player in the country, USC head coach Tim Floyd instead went straight to the hand that feeds him in going after D.J. Augustin. That strategy worked flawlessly, as Durant struggled to get touches in the places heís most comfortable in, and wasnít able to take advantage of the huge size advantage he had over his defenders. Rick Barnesí ďstrategyĒ of letting his freshmen work things out on their own didnít exactly help matters either.
Durant saw a few double-teams thrown his way here and there, but for the most part was defended straight up by 6-4 Daniel Hackett and 6-5 Nick Young. He wasnít able to get the ball in a position to exploit those matchups, though, as he was a bit passive calling for passes when the game was still within reach and did not have the benefit of a point guard who was committed and able to get him the ball. Regardless, we still got plenty of looks at the terrific perimeter game that has made him such a deadly weapon all season long, including his long-range shooting and ability to create his own shot.
On the negative side, it would have been nice to see a bit more urgency coming from his direction. He had just 4 points in the first 15 minutes, before scoring 26 over the next 25. He just wasnít selfish enough when his team needed him to be, while some of his lesser talented teammates certainly were. Defensively he looked hesitant to commit any fouls, letting USCís players score easily around the rim and not going as aggressively as weíve become accustomed to after rebounds. He did draw two charges, though, an area that he is slowly becoming an expert in as a semi-flopper.
At the end of the day, this game probably wonít move Durantís stock in either direction. He showed up, but the rest of his team (except A.J. Abrams) didnít. Against a talented and well-coached team like USC, thatís just not going to fly. What this will do, though, is give GMs a chance to keep Greg Oden etched in their minds during the advanced rounds of the tournament, while Durant will be sitting at home.
Though Durant didnít have the best game of his career, he was still able to score close to his average against a tough New Mexico State team, and provided enough of a lift to get the Longhorns into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Early on, Durant struggled with a couple of his scoring attempts, which generally came further out on the perimeter. He only made 1 of his first 5 shots from the field, but was creating good shots within the flow of the offense. To adjust to the slow start, Durant started playing in the high post more often, starting many of the possessions by getting the ball with his back to the hoop from around 18 feet out. As a result, the offense started running through Durant, and he started making a lot of shots from 12 feet on in. This also opened up the perimeter more for him and his teammates. Durant finished the first half with 14 points, and he touched the ball on 16 of Texasí 33 first half possessions.
In the second half, Durant started slowly, and didnít demand the ball nearly as much. He let teammate DJ Augustin make many of the plays, and New Mexico State was able to keep themselves in the game thanks to Durantís lack of offensive production. With 6 minutes remaining in the game, he had only scored 3 points in the second half. He stepped up for the last 6 minutes of the game however, scoring 10 points, and knocking down many key free throws to keep the game out of reach for the opposing Aggies.
Durant displayed his wide array of scoring abilities in his first career NCAA Tournament game. From the post, his step through and spin moves allowed him to make shots from mid-range. He also showed off his ball-handling ability, and how he can use a crossover dribble to create space and score. Defensively, Durant used his length well, and disrupted a number of shots due to active hands.
Overall, this game probably doesnít move Kevin Durantís draft stock in either direction. He proved that he wasnít out of place as a freshman leading his team into the NCAA Tournament, but he didnít do anything more than was required for Texas to win the game. It will be interesting to watch Durantís reaction to increased pressure in the coming round(s) to teams who may be able to stay with him better defensively.
Texas freshman Kevin Durant further solidified his case for top pick in the 2007 NBA Draft over the last three days, averaging 30.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game while leading his team to the final of the Big 12 tourney, where they suffered a narrow overtime loss to #2 Kansas. He showed scouts the good, the bad, and the freakish potential that he has as a player down the road, all while carrying a team that starts four freshman and has zero depth to a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Durant came into the conference tournament on fire after posting three straight 30 plus performances against Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Kansas respectively. UT made it quite clear from day one that they were going to get him as many touches as possible, and did an outstanding job of that in all three games of the tournament. Although their star freshman did not shoot the highest percentage from the field (39.7%), he did give scouts a bit of a sneak peak of his improving off the dribble skills and improving ball handling ability in the open floor. While this has been a minor area for concern in the past with Durant, he displayed the ability to handle the ball well in the open floor throughout the three day tournament and showed glimpses of devastating off the dribble skills. This is just one area of his game that we chose to focus on, as he was clearly the most dominant player that any of the conferences tournaments had to offer over the weekend. His natural scoring ability is unparalleled at the collegiate level, and Durantís rebounding instincts were able to lead him to set UTís all time single season rebounding record in their loss to Kansas. It was truly a remarkable conclusion to the regular season of what has easily been the most dominant performance by a freshman in recent memory.
When examining a player as skilled as Durant, it can be difficult at times to pick out flaws in his game. One aspect of his game that was put on center stage throughout the tournament was his tendency to disappear throughout stretches of the game. For 10 minutes, you will be watching the best player the college game has had to offer in the last 10 years. Then for 5 minutes, you will forget that he is even on the floor offensively. While we need to take into consideration the fatigue involved in playing three straight games (something that even NBA teams donít do) as the sole focal point for a skinny 18 year old, it would be nice if his scoring presence was felt more consistently throughout the entire game, rather then just in the amazing ďhot stretchesĒ that he goes through in each game.
Whenís on his game, though, there might not be a more exciting player to watch anywhere in the world. Case in point, with Texas down by 20 points to Baylor in the second half of the quarterfinals, Durant scores 22 points in the next 9 minutes to lead his team to a comeback victory. In the next game against Oklahoma State, Durant scored his teamís first 13 points in the opening 8 minutes of the game, and 19 in the half, before falling asleep until the end of the game but still nailing the 3-pointer that clinched the victory for his team. In the finals, Durant again came out on fire, scoring 22 points in 15 minutes, and then ďonlyĒ another 15 points in the next 30 minutes.
The potential that Durant has as a player down the road is absolutely off the charts, and commentators have brought up a point multiple times throughout the season (and yet again Sunday) about him that makes you realize this: How can a player possibly have 37 points and have played a ďbad game? Well due to the outstanding season and lofty expectations that people have for Durant, this is possible in his case. What would be a career game for most college players is viewed as merely an average game for ďKDĒ. To put this in perspective, he averaged 30.3 points per game this tournament while shooting a poor percentage from the field. Had he shot his average field goal percentage on the year (47.8%), he would have averaged nearly 38 points per game. It has truly been a remarkable season that Durant has had this year, and the Big 12 tournament showed even fans who had never seen the DC native play before that they were watching something freakishly abnormal, an 18 year old future NBA All-Star playing against college kids.
After a short cooling off period that saw him ďonlyĒ average 19 points a game over the past 4 games, rather than the 30 points weíve grown accustomed to, Kevin Durant went back to his ridiculous scoring ways in putting together another double-double (his 17th of the season in 28 games) and another 30+ point effort against Oklahoma. Durant started off with a cool 19 points in the first half alone en-route to helping build a large lead for Texas that the Sooners just could not overcome. He also received another feather in his cap by breaking Marcus Fizerís single-season record for points in the Big 12 conference.
This was a classic Kevin Durant scoring barrage, knocking down 3-pointers with the greatest of ease, mixing in a few gorgeous turn-around jump-shots, getting to the free throw line almost whenever he pleased, and doing it all in an unselfish manner, seemingly without forcing a thing.
Thatís really what stands out the most beyond his amazing skill levelóDurant is very much just another cog in Texasí offense, not demanding the ball excessively, rarely stopping the flow of the ball movement, executing perfectly in half-court sets, and getting his points in large part thanks to the level of trust that his teammates and coach Rick Barnes have in him. Heís gone 3 whole games now without dishing out even a single assist, but rarely do you feel like heís not doing exactly what heís being asked to, almost exclusively for the betterment of his team rather than his own personal gain.
Of course, Durant stood out in a couple of other areas too. Itís impossible to watch him and not be amazed at his physical tools, and the way he utilizes them offensively and on the glass. Durant might not be a guy that will blow people away at the NBA combine, but in our book, heís a fantastic athlete for a player his size. Durant runs the floor extremely well, has excellent quickness, is extremely quick off his feet, and beyond all, possesses incredible timing to help bring together this package of skills and make certain plays that no one else in the NCAA is capable of. His size and freakishly long arms, along with his instincts, allow him to catch passes he has no business catching, tip balls he has no business tipping, and dunk put-back attempts and lobs that he has no business dunking. His hands are outstanding as you might have guessed, making him the 2nd best rebounder in this yearís draft according to our advanced statistics. Considering the differences in strength of schedule between him and the #1 prospect, Nick Fazekas, the .1 rebound margin between the two gains a little more perspective.
Offensively, he already has a complete package of skills, making him easily the most naturally talented scoring threat weíve ever personally scouted at the collegiate level. In the post, he has solid footwork and a decent array of moves, being capable of executing quick drop-steps and jump-hooks that are seemingly unblockable due to his incredibly high release point. More than anything, though, he loves utilizing the turnaround jumper, especially banking it in smoothly high off the glass, ala Tim Duncan.
From the perimeter, though, is where the Nowitzki comparisons come from. Durant is an instinctive shooter, particularly spotting up. His shooting mechanics are gorgeous, his release effortless and lightning quick, and his range extends past the NBA 3-point line. Unlike most 6-10 players, he actually elevates off the floor in getting his shot off, but only when the situation actually calls for it. This ability to change his release point when needed and get his shot off in a variety of different ways is what truly separates the natural born shooters from those who became great through their work in the gym.
Depending on who you ask, Durant can easily belong to both groups, which is where his potential starts to really scare you. Many of his points come simply from him catching the ball within the flow of the offense, recognizing that he has only the glimmer of daylight that he needs due to his size and high release point, and then draining a 3-pointer effortlessly as if he were by himself in the gym. Despite the large amount of attention he receives from opposing defenses, he still shoots an excellent 40.4% from behind the arc. Even though his advanced perimeter game and lack of bulk would lead you to assume that he prefers to hang out on the perimeter exclusively rather than getting dirty in the paint, only 31% of Durantís shots come from behind the 3-point line, and he gets to the charity stripe nearly 7 times per game, ranking him 5th in this draft.
If a defender is crowding him excessively, Durant is smart enough to not force the issue. He uses the threat of his shot, often with a quick pump-fake, to get the defense off balance and then penetrate all the way to the basket off just one dribble. Heís able to do this because of his incredibly large strides, and if a defender is waiting for him at the rim, has no problem pulling up off the dribble or releasing a gorgeous one handed floater that he converts at a high rate thanks to his phenomenal touch. He can go left or right equally well, and is also capable of finishing smoothly with either hand as well. As mentioned, he doesnít get so caught up in his scoring that he loses track of his teammates, something that we saw numerous times over the course of the season with the crisp passes he is capable of delivering all over the floor.
Defensively, Durant has a ways to go in terms of his awareness and fundamentals, but heís not completely useless here either, having made noticeable strides over the course of the year. He blocks nearly two shots a game thanks to his reach, hands, athleticism and timing, and comes up with steals at an identical rate due to these same attributes. The same exact thing can be said about his propensity to rebound, but here more than ever he also shows solid fundamentals boxing out, and is also extremely active going out of his area and right over the top of matchups to hit the glass. To emphasize his stat-stuffing ways (except for the assists), Durant is currently ranked 2nd in PER, and also 2nd in EFF.
Even if heís around the 3-point line when a teammatesí shot goes up, heíll still make the extra effort to get into the paint quickly and help out on the boards. Itís exactly this type of attitude that gets scouts all the more excited about the type of player heíll end up becoming down the road. When speaking about Durant, itís always wise to remind people that he doesnít turn 19 for another 7 months, and therefore is very likely just scraping the surface on how good heíll end up being down the road.
For that reason precisely, Durant still his fair share of weaknesses that need to be worked on. The most obvious one would be his body, which is thin and frail and likely wonít ever be considered overly bulky by NBA standards. This hinders him in a few areas right now, with the main one being his defense in the post. Durant gets pushed around excessively and has a tendency to lose his balance and position too easily. Offensively, he struggles to finish through contact at times around the basket, and therefore relies on his finesse and touch more than you might prefer.
In the half-court offense, Durant still has plenty of room to improve in his ball-handling skills. His arms are so long that he struggles to do the type of advanced ball-handling moves that are often needed to beat peskier defenders off the dribble if they donít bite on his initial pump-fake. Adding some hesitation moves to allow him to change pace and take advantage of the better spacing the NBA enjoys will certainly benefit him, because in traffic is where his ball-handling struggles the most.
If weíre looking for more places to nitpick, Durant can a little too streaky within the course of games, at times getting a bit passive when his team needs him most. This was most easily noticed in the Texas A&M game a few weeks ago. He seems to go on incredible short bursts where he racks up 10-12 points in just a few minutes, and then gets a little bit quiet until his team starts running plays for him to heat back up. This is anything but uncommon for a player his age, but itís something he will need to work on in the NBA, where focus is everything and games can be won or lost off a single possession.
All in all, though, Durant is having an unbelievable freshman season and has done everything in his power to make the race for the #1 overall pick a real conversationósomething that was almost unfathomable in November. Ultimately, it might come down to positional factors and specific team needs, but the lucky GM who lands the coveted top pick will at least have to think long and hard before he decides to pass on a player that could end up leading the NBA in scoring.
Earlier this week, DraftExpress made the very tough decision to place Kevin Durant ahead of Greg Oden in our 2007 mock draft. This wasnít a knee-jerk reaction to Durantís ridiculous 37 point, 23 rebound outing against Texas Tech, although that certainly was the straw the broke the camelís back. Actually, it didnít even take us until the end of that game to realize that the decision had already been made for us. With about 10 minutes to go in the 2nd half, as you can see by the 10:37 tagline for the last mock draft edit, we decided that enough is enough. This one game just confirmed to us what we knew from seeing the incredible level Durant has been playing at all season--weíre talking about the best player in college basketball right now.
A big shout out to Texas and Oklahoma State, for reminding us all why college hoops is so great. To be honest, it had been a while since the sport had given us a game like this. I would go back to the 2005 Maui, when Gonzaga-Michigan State went 3-OTís, and before that the West Virginia-Wake Forest marathon the previous March. Much has already been written about this game, but I do have a few thoughts to add:
- Byron Eatonís shot could have been dismissed as simple luck, but it really did change the game. Texas had taken a 7-point lead, but Eatonís miracle shot clock beater took the wind out of their sails. The Cowboys didnít immediately jump to the lead, but did hold Texas to just one field goal over the next seven minutes. By the time Texas got back on track, this was a completely different game.
- Texas was behind the eight ball virtually the entire stretch run. The young Longhorns didnít lead the final 13 minutes of regulation and after an early advantage in the 1st OT, once again were either behind or tied until Durantís free throw with 10 seconds to play in the 3rd OT. Texas was down 5 with 50 seconds to play in regulation, needed two baskets in the final 30 seconds of the 1st OT, and again faced 5 point deficits in the 2nd and 3rd OTís. Wow.
- For all the talk of Kevin Durantís excellence in this one, it wasnít a great game for the freshman. Marcus Dove wasnít locking him down, but he was doing a great job of denying the freshman the ball and forcing him to take difficult shots. Durant was clearly frustrated shortly before Dove picked up his 4th foul, and Durant would score 21 of his 37 points after Dove fouled out with 6 minutes to play in regulation. The fact that Durant managed to foul out a defender like Dove is only a testament to his greatness on the college level, but the junior certainly gets high marks for slowing down yet another elite-level scorer. As for Durant and his 37, it is scary to think that this was probably the best individual defense he will face all season.
Texas freshman Kevin Durant put on easily the most dominant performance by any of the stellar freshman the college game has to offer this week, boasting a ridiculous 37 points, collecting 16 rebounds, and drilling five three pointers. What made things even more impressive was that he did all of this within the flow of the game, not forcing anything at all. Durant is making his case for number one louder and louder as the days go on, as he has even surpassed what Carmelo Anthony did at Syracuse at this point in his freshman season.
Offensively, Kevin was a nightmare for all opposing Buffalo defenders. He was scoring from inside and out, from the pick and roll and off the dribble. It was virtually impossible for any opposing power forward to guard him, as his excellent quickness allowed him to blow past them on the perimeter, and he was able to utilize his height down low on the blocks. Then of course, you had to deal with Durantís outside shooting ability, which is unparalleled at the collegiate level by any player his size.
Durant displayed his remarkable perimeter shooting ability, knocking down five three pointers for the second time in a game this season, with the first coming earlier in the season against St. Johnís. He combines the range and shooting ability of a Steve Novak with a remarkably quick release and feathery soft touch. Kevin hit jumpers from virtually every angle of the court, both from a stand-still and on the move. It was simply an amazing shooting performance by the freshman that Texas depends on every game, but Durant showed us a little more against Colorado: An emerging post game.
For quite some time early in the season, Durant chose to roam around the perimeter, firing up outside jumpers. While there is nothing wrong with this due to his excellent accuracy (39% on the season), one would like to see him utilize his length (6í10 with 7í4 wingspan) closer to the basket. Well, Kevin must have gotten the memo, making it a point to show everyone watching the game that he is excellent with his back to the basket as well. He showed off a beautiful right handed jump hook, as well as a smooth turnaround jump-shot from the low post. Both shots looked seemingly unblockable, as Durant used his freakish wingspan to extend far beyond where any Buffalo defender could reach.
Despite his small frame, the Maryland native showed that he had no problem mixing it up inside, collecting 16 rebounds, 7 of which came from the offensive end. He did not back down from the smaller and stronger Colorado big men, holding his ground on the blocks and using his length to alter plenty of shots. Kevin used his length and athleticism on the offensive end as well, delivering two SportsCenter Top 10 quality dunks that left the crowd in awe. He also used his guard-like quickness to break down whoever was placed on him off the dribble, Richard Roby included
Despite his outstanding performance, it was clear that Kevinís ball-handling skills could use some refinement if he plans on being a full time small forward in the NBA. As it stands now, his handle is outstanding for a power forward, but still marginal for a wing. Durant has a tendency to let his dribble get a bit high, allowing smaller guards to get their hands in there and poke the ball away, which played a part in his five turnovers for the game.
Offensively, itís easy to marvel at many of the things Durant does, as itís rare to see a player of his size with some of his abilities. The touch, form, and accuracy on his outside shot are nothing short of phenomenal, and he can effortlessly stroke the ball from NBA three-point range already, as he did on one shot in this game. He has great confidence in his shot, which is apparent the first time you see him shoot the ball, though he has a tendency to throw up some shots early in the shot-clock when it really isnít necessary. Durantís ability to take the ball to the basket is equally impressive, and there arenít many players his age and his size that can handle the ball so well with either hand. He protects the ball extremely well, understands how and when to utilize his beloved spin move on drives, and does it all effortlessly and fluidly, leading to some great shot attempts when you consider his elevation and high release point on shots. He did a great job getting to the free-throw line in this game and showed nice touch on his floaters, lay-ups, and turnaround jumpers, executing them right out of his spin move perfectly. On the other hand, Durant did travel a few times and charge into a defender on an out-of-control drive, so heís obviously still coming along in his court awareness and decision-making at this stage.
Durant did a good job on the boards in this game, but he operates there in a very unorthodox manner considering his effectiveness. Especially on the offensive end, he looks very tentative in drawing contact, and often will just use his incredible reach to get his hands on rebounds, but still does a good job finishing on putbacks, even though he doesnít seem to be assertive here at all. This is a testament to his touch and ability, and as he continues to hit the weights and improve his toughness inside, itís a scary thought about how effective he could be. He didnít operate in the post much in this game, but showed a nice hook shot on one occasion.
Defensively, Durant looks very out of sorts, but his coach does a very good job hiding his deficiencies in the Texas scheme, usually putting him on the opposing teamís worst player. In this game he got beat on a few occasions early inside by Gonzagaís Sean Mallon, looking helpless trying to defend him, but coach Rick Barnes did a good job in not letting Gonzaga exploit him much after that. Durant seems to have trouble both on the perimeter and in the post on the defensive end, and thatís definitely something heíll need to work on over the course of the rest of this season.
Most people believe itís a foregone conclusion that Durant will enter this yearís draft, and he has as good a chance to go #2 as anyone. Whether he can eclipse Greg Oden, almost unanimously assumed to be this yearís #1 pick, is still up in the air. Durantís position at the next level is also something many are questioning, and realistically he could have success as a SG, SF, or PF, depending on what areas of his game he chooses to improve.
While Odenís presence already makes the senior class of 2006 unique, do-it-all forward Kevin Durant wouldnít be a bad candidate for number one in most years. While he checks in at 6í10, his athleticism and ability to play full-time on the perimeter at such a young age makes him an instant high lottery candidate whenever he enters the draft. Durantís shooting form is flawless. His release is effortless and quick, and his range extends out to the NBA 3-point line. He also shows off formidable ball-handling and passing skills, and looks more like a true small forward every time he steps foot on the court. Durant will need to put in a lot work in the weight room, and certainly needs to a bit more willing to mix it up in the paint, but the natural tools are quite staggering. ďHe has a chance to be an offensive juggernaut in the NBA someday,Ē said Meyer. ďHe needs to improve his defense and rebounding, but that has more to do with strength than anything else. He will be scary once he develops a post game.Ē With no significant member of Texasí frontcourt returning, Durant will get his chance to hone his craft closer to the basket. If he can put on a bit of muscle and polish up his approach to the game, a top 5 selection is waiting for him next year at this time.[Read Full Article]
ďIím a hard worker. I like to play with a lot of passion. As you can see, I scream a lot on the court. I leave it all between the lines. There are no friends on the court, just me and my teammates. I think Iíll bring that to Texas, plus my inside-outside game.Ē
ďThereís a lot of talk that I might have [gone straight to the NBA], but I try not to think about it. I might have, who knows.Ē
ďI was a point guard before I got to be 6í11Ē. In a whole summer, I grew about six inches. I just wanted to keep everything [his PG skills] with me. All the players in the NBA, they can dribble and shoot, theyíre versatile, they do it all pretty well.Ē
"Any position that coach wants me to play, really. I think I can play from 2 to the 5, maybe not the whole game, but somewhat .. .even some point guard."
ďTo me, every time I shoot a jumper, I think itís going in. Thatís why I shoot a lot. In the first half, I shot a lot of jumpers, but towards the end of the game, I started taking it to the hole more, and pull-up jumpers. In this game, Iím not going to try and take as many jumpers, but if itís open, Iím gonna knock it down.Ē
ďThere were some real good international players. Especially the big guy, Sene. I didnít realize he was that good. Iím not going to be surprised if some of those guys are in the NBA.Ē
Kevin Durant followed up his strong performances at the McDonaldís Game and the Hoop Summit with yet another impressive performance here, filling up the stat sheet and showing just how many areas he can contribute in on the floor. Durant scored his points in a variety of ways; shooting threes, driving to the basket, or attacking the offensive boards. Durant has yet to show any prowess with his back-to-the-basket, but heís an immensely talented offensive player everywhere else. Most of Durantís three-point attempts were pulling up, hitting two out of five and still looking good even when he missed. Durant also showed off some of the skills he developed playing as a point guard earlier in high school, before a rapid growth spurt. He takes larger players off the dribble from the perimeter very easily, using an array of moves including crossovers, spins, and a quick first step, looking like a guard doing so. He seems to favor pulling up for a mid-range shot once he gets his man off the dribble, but isnít averse to taking it to the basket, getting to the foul line a couple of times in this fashion. He also went glass on one of his pull-up attempts from mid-range.
Durantís time playing point guard in high school was evident elsewhere, too. He is a great passer for a big man, and possesses good court vision when heís moving with the ball, dumping off four assists in transition and off of drive-and-dishes. He didnít show it in this game, but Durant also feeds the post well from the perimeter, and can adeptly hit cutters from behind the three-point-line.
Durant may not have mixed it up with his back-to-the-basket game, but over the course of the past three days at the game and practices, heís shown he has no problem attacking the offensive glass, using his good rebounding instincts and touch around the basket to get a good amount of putbacks. Heís persistent around the glass, and with his ability to quickly get off the ground, he can get up and down for second-chance tip-ins when it doesnít go down the first time.
Durant has already shown he can be consistently effective against the best players in his class, using his versatility to contribute in other ways when his shot isnít falling. But itís unseen how his game will translate to college, and eventually the NBA, if he doesnít add some more bulk to his currently wiry frame. He would be best served to increase his strength heading into next year, while developing some reliable back-to-the-basket moves as well.
Kevin Durant had a shaky day shooting the ball, but was able to contribute elsewhere and still make himself look good. Durant missed five out of his six three-point attempts, one of which was from NBA range, despite consistently displaying his smooth shooting stroke. Durant wasnít just chucking shots up, though, and he also showed off some passing ability in the scrimmage. On one play when he had the ball behind the three-point arc, he adeptly hit a cutter going to the basket for an assist. He threw an alley-oop to teammate Dajuan Summers on another halfcourt play. He also tried taking the ball to the hole on one play, then opting to pass it off for a drive-and-dish assist instead. Durant didnít show any evidence of a back-to-the-basket game, but did mix it up around the rim a bit. He was constantly fighting for rebounds, getting a few putbacks in the process. He also had a few finishes in transition. Durant would be best-served hitting the gym to add some bulk to his wiry frame and developing more of a back-to-the-basket game to complement his lethal outside shot.[Read Full Article]
Durant had a Jekyll and Hyde performance during the Hoop Summit. In the first half, he couldnít get anything going on the offensive end, with the exception of a nice three pointer he made early in the game. Other than that, he was invisible on offense, and a liability on defense. He was out-muscled by the bigger players he had to guard, and couldnít move his feet to stay in front of the smaller guys. This will be a problem for Durant, who would really help himself by adding some bulk to his frame over the summer. When the half wasnít going well for him, Kevin appeared withdrawn from the game, and wasnít carrying himself well on the court. He came out in the second half, though, and it was a completely different story. Durant started hitting shots, especially from the mid-range. The elevation and arc on his shot are nearly perfect, while his release is very quick, which makes it very hard for a defender to block his shot in any way.
Though he played much better in the second half, it was still a quiet 20 points, with 8 of the points coming in the 4th quarter after the game had been over for a long time. After showing some good passing abilities during the McDonalds game, Durant didnít really create anything for his teammates during the Hoop Summit, though he did pretty well collecting defensive rebounds. He also settled for jump shots nearly the entire game, except for two open dunk attempts, one of which he missed. He has the ability to get the hoop off the dribble, so Kevin must use this skill more, because it will make his shooting that much more dangerous. Durant has fantastic potential as a basketball player, but he will need to raise his level of intensity at all times if he is ever going to reach his potential. He should have the opportunity to become a top scoring option at Texas right away, especially if PJ Tucker and Lamarcus Aldridge head to the NBA.
Durant, who we featured in an article on Tuesday, did not disappoint, sharing MVP honors along with Chase Budinger. He showed us the wide variety of skills that make him such an intriguing prospect for the future. The 6í10 SF displayed effortless shooting ability from NBA three point range, a quick release, and great form on his jumpshot. Not only a distance shooter, he showed an in-between game with a variety of mid range jumpers and pull-ups in the lane to compliment his deep shooting. Kevin showed improved athleticism, ball-handling and passing skills from the last time we saw him, which translated into easy baskets for himself, as well as open shots for his teammates.
Although he was easily one of the three most talented players on the floor, Durant still desperately needs to bulk up and find a true position before draft talk can be muttered out of his (or our) mouth. His shot selection was a bit questionable and his defense was a bit shaky, but the proper teaching and discipline that he will receive at Texas should rid those problems.
All faults aside, Kevin made it clear tonight that he is an extraordinary talent, and someone draft fans need to keep their eye on this upcoming season at Texas. If he lives up to the lofty expectations that most have for him, donít be surprised to see Mr. Durant picked awfully high in the 2007 Draft.